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Third Watch

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It was going to be a long day... A really long day, she could just tell. Since their shift had started they’d had two false alarms, a call to sort out a drunk and a parking violation. This was definitely not why she joined NYPD...

“Hey is that Gillan?” Clint asked, slamming the breaks suddenly and abandoning the car by the side of the road

“Barton! ... For God’s sake Barton, not again!” she too climbed from the car and joined the pursuit. Gillan was a local drug dealer who’s been evading arrest for the better part of six months now, Clint had taken it personally that'd he'd failed to get him on two separate occasions

“Control this is 55-Foxtrot, we are on foot in pursuit, heading north on Broadway”

She darted round a group of teenagers, keeping her eye on her partner. Clint grabbed the guy by his shirt, throwing him to the floor and cuffing him roughly when Natasha arrived by his side

“You couldn’t have given me a warning?” She asked

“What? We got him didn’t we?” he replied, hauling the guy to his feet

Gillian started to get angry and shout; “You can’t do this! You’ve got to ri-“

He quickly stopped shouting when Natasha punched him in the face, causing his nose to bleed
He looked shocked

“55-Foxtrot, status?” came the voice over their radios

“Suspect is in custody. Over” Clint replied, dragging Gillan back towards their abandoned cruiser.

“Passive aggressive much?” he said under his breath to his partner, who rolled her eyes

“Bastard sells drugs to kids; he deserves everything that’s coming to him”

The two walked back in silence as it started to rain, dragging their unusually subdued prisoner with them.

 

Across town, at the firehouse on the corner of Shield Way and Sword Avenue the fire service were having a quiet day; a game of basketball had broken out between the fire-fighters while the paramedics sat around waiting to be called out.

Bruce Banner, senior paramedic at the firehouse was sat with his best friend, and long time partner on the job; Hanky Pym. The two were joking, when Bruce looked up to see Jessica Drew enter. He quickly avoided her gaze and it didn’t take a genius to notice;

“It still awkward between you two?” Hank asked, watching Jessica walk over to the food supplies and begin to restock the fast-dwindling supplies

“No, it’s not so bad. We’ve been divorced for almost a year, and we have a son so we still have to see each other regularly, it’s just odd having her work here”

They’d had some pretty major budget cuts over the past twelve months, which had resulted in the closure of the fireshouse on the other side of the city that Jessica used to work for; she’d been sent here and teamed up with the (then) newly qualified paramedic Darcy Lewis

“Hey Jess, you think we got enough food here?” came Darcy’s voice came as she struggled through the doors laden with shopping bags

“Here mam, let me help you with that” said a young blond man, he was tall and extremely muscular, Darcy guessed he was the new candidate for the fire squad and gladly accepted his help;

“Yeah, too bad there’s not a load of incredibly strong men stood around doing nothing!” she called back to the fire fighters

“Do you know where I can find Mr Banner?” he asked. Darcy felt Jess go slightly tense beside her, but nodded towards the table where two men sat, actively not looking towards the kitchen where they were currently stood

“Thanks” he said, a large smile on his face before he turned to stroll over to the men

“Mr Banner?” he asked, not sure which man to address

“May I help you?” he asked politely

“Hi, I’m Steve Rogers, the new paramedic assigned to Firehouse 55”

Bruce pushed his glasses up his nose, taking in the appearance of the young man; he barely looked old enough to qualify as a paramedic

“When you say new..?”

“Yes sir, brand new. Qualified just last week”

Oh great Bruce thought

“Okay, listen up Newbie, you ride with me and Pym, you do what we say and you work hard. If you can do that you’ll make a damn good paramedic, so go get in your uniform and if we get a call, you better move fast”

“Yes sir” he smiled, running off to get changed

“Newbie?” Darcy shouted from the kitchen

“Yeah”

“Us or them?”

“Us”

Hank got up to go get some coffee; he was bored and itching to get out. Seeing the police cars from across the street speeding off every other minute made him jealous; he knew he should have signed up to become a cop instead of a medic

Jess wondered awkwardly over to where Bruce was now sat alone

“You still okay to have Joey this weekend?” she asked. They had shared custody of their four year old son, Bruce mostly having him at weekends while he spend the weeks with his Mom

“Yeah, I’m going to take him to the zoo”

“Okay, just remember he doesn’t like the elephants, they scare him”

“I know Jess”

“And don’t let him have too much ice cream, it makes him throw up”

“Jess”

“And if he’s up past seven the night before he’ll be in a bad mood all day”

“I know Jess!” Bruce said angrily, “He’s my son too” he added, calmer now

Jessica nodded; “I’ll drop him off Friday after school”

“It’s okay, I swapped my shift, I’ll pick him up”

“Oh, okay. Right” she said awkwardly, getting up and heading back to the kitchen

Bruce couldn’t remember it ever being this hard before

“Man, it’s quiet today!” Hank moaned as he sat back in his seat. Bruce groaned, Darcy shouted at him and Jess shook her head, if there was one thing you should never say in a firehouse; that was it!

As if on cue the sirens wailed and all staff headed out of the door.

 

“Nice collar this morning Barton” Coulson said as the two officers headed back out of central

“And a nice broken nose you gave him Romanoff” he added

She shrugged

“Official story is he hit his face on the ground during the arrest, but unofficially; I hope you hit him hard!” Coulson smiled

“I did Sergeant”

“That’s my girl” Clint said teasingly before the two headed back out to their car. They’d barely climbed back in when the call came through;

“55-Foxtrot, RTC off Northgate and Hudson, multiple victims, possible 502, FDNY and EMT en route”

“55-Foxtrot, copy” Clint said into his radio, “Well this is turning into a fun day...”

“Don’t jinx us Barton” Natasha warned, starting the engine and swiftly pulling out with lights flashing and sirens blazing; she knew she loved her job for a reason.

Chapter Text

Natasha and Clint, along with several other (severely underpaid) New York Police officers got stuck directing traffic, stood in the rain, while the firefighters and medics did their job with the wreck behind them.

Carol Danvers, the only female firefighter in the city was currently working with her Lieutenant, Thor Odinson, to free a woman trapped in her car. She’d tried to swerve out of the way of the original crash and ended up driving straight into a wall. Her car was a mess, the wall didn’t look all that steady, and she was in bad shape.

Carol climbed into the passenger seat carefully, in order to stabilise her before they moved her

“Hey Danvers, how’s it looking?” Thor shouted

“Just gimme a minute”

The wall started to give way slightly

“You might not have a minute Danvers!” he warned, there was nothing he could do to help stabilise the wall, none of their equipment was suitable for an impact like that. He felt guilty, it should be him in that car, not Carol; but he was too big to squeeze into the small space in the car

“I’m done, let’s get her out” Carol shouted, and Thor was relieved when fellow firefighter Johnny Storm appeared with a back board, paramedics Drew and Lewis stood with him. They carefully pulled the unconscious woman from the car and swiftly moved back towards where Bruce, Steve and Hank were working on a man and a six year old girl.

Darcy and Jess set to work quickly

“How’s it looking?” Johnny asked, looking back as the wall fell and crushed the car

“Seven DOA” Bruce answered, still working on the little girl was wasn’t breathing;

“I need a five gauge tracheal tube” Bruce told Steve urgently, throwing away the one he'd been trying to use. Steve got up and sprinted back towards their rig and desperately started searching through the equipment

Darcy frustratedly gave up with her patient; there was no bringing her back, so she moved on to help Bruce;

“What’s the new kid’s name?” she asked Hank, who'd gladly accepted Jess' help with his patient

“I don’t know; new kid”

“Hey new kid, hurry up!” she yelled, injecting a dose of epinephrine in a hope to get the kids blood pressure out of the gutter

Steve was getting frustrated, a kid’s life could be in his hand and he couldn’t find the damn pediatric intubation kit anywhere. Jessica appeared by his side; “you know, ask” she informed him, passing him what he needed and watching as he ran back off

 

“Hey! Officer!” someone in the crowd shouted, pushing his way through

“What is it?” Clint asked skeptically, if it was going to be another complaint at the traffic he was so not in the mood

“The guy who ran the red light, he’s in the bar down the road”

“You’re sure?”

He nodded; “His name is Dan Baxter, that’s his Jag” he said, pointing at the car at the center of the catastrophe

“Hey Nat, come on” Clint shouted, leaving the traffic control to Sue Storm and Ben Grimm now they'd arrived; "Nice of you to join us 55-David" Clint joked as he walked off

They found Dan in the bar at the end of the street, quickly downing a bottle of whiskey

“He drunk when he came in?” Natasha asked the guy behind the bar

He shrugged; “Don’t know, but he just bought the whole bottle” he informed them

Clint took the seat behind the man, who was visibly shaking but continued to take large mouthfuls of the foul smelling drink

“You trying to throw off the breathalyzer test?” Clint asked

“M-my lawyer is on his way, y-you can’t prove anything”

“Come on, we’ll wait outside. You can watch the ME bag up the bodies of all the people you just killed” Natasha told him, hauling him to his feet and giving him a push towards the door

“We’ll need a statement off you” Clint warned the bar tended as they went back outside, where it had thankfully stopped raining.

Dan stood between the two police officers, purposely keeping his eyes on the floor and not towards the carnage down the road

“What’s the body count up to now Nat? Seven?” he asked on purpose, as far as Clint was concerned; if you were going to drink and drive, you’d damn well live with the consequences

“Eight. They just called it on the woman Danvers pulled from the car”

Clint glanced sidewards and noticed the tears falling down Dan’s face

 

The man Hank had been working on died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital

“God damnit!” Hank cursed as Bruce flicked off the lights and sirens, there was no rush anymore. Steve watched the man sadly; his first call out as a paramedic and they'd failed...

Darcy and Jess took the young girl to the hospital, thankfully still alive. Darcy smiled as her best friend, Doctor Foster, met her at the hospital doors;

“Six year old Jane Doe, victim of a multiple car pileup, unconscious at the scene. Intubated and one of epi given. Pulse one-twenty and thready, bp was 80 over 40, increased to 95 over 60”

“Thanks Darce; we need Xrays and blood grouping, get up some IV fluids ...” Jane began instructing as she and a team of doctors and nurses swept the little girl down the hallway

They’d barely handed over their patient when another call came in;

“Ambulance 51 are you clear? We have another call out”

“Ambulance 51, what’ve you got?” Jess answered as Darcy sighed, she was going to kick Hank Pym’s ass when she next saw him, why’d he have to go and complain about a quiet shift?!

“76 year old woman complaining of breathlessness and visual disturbances, 57 Lexinton Avenue, Apartment 45B”

“Roger that” “Come on Darce, we can grab some food after this one hopefully”

“Where the hell are 52? Bruce, Hank and the new kid could have taken this one” she moaned as they headed back to their rig.

They reached the building to find a series of high rise flats, and unfortunately the elevator was out of order. Darcy glanced over towards the stairs;

“You don’t think apartment 45B is on the 45th floor do you?”

“Knowing our luck; I'd even go as far as to put money on it” she sighed, beginning their long journey up the stairs

 

“55-Foxtrot, report of shots fired at 7 Ceader Street, 55-David en route”

“10-4 central. 55-Foxtrot responding”

“Man it’s been a long day” Clint complained as Natasha flicked on the sirens and put her foot down

They reached the destination just minutes after 55-David

“What’s going on?” Clint asked Ben as he climbed out the car. It certainly didn’t look like a response to shots fired

“There's no shots, not even a gun, just a woman scared because someone was looking in her window” Ben complained, leaning back on his car while his partner, Sue Storm questioned the woman who’d called them out.

Natasha made her way over

“Mam, you can’t call in a report of shots fired if it’s not true” Sue was trying to explain

“My sister works for the government, and she said to always say it or there ain’t no chance someone will actually come out to see you”

“Mam, the calls are prioritised, we would have got to you in due time if you'd just-”

“I ain’t got time to be wasting!” she complained

“Listen, you have four police officers stood on your front lawn for no reason. There are additional cops and paramedics on standby incase we need them, and you wonder why it takes so long for us to respond to calls? It’s because we’re all tied up in false callouts” Natasha told her harshly, she didn’t have the same patience as Sue

The woman looked at her in disbelief while Sue smiled; you could always count on Natasha to tell it straight

“But I-“

“Look, you’re wasting our time, there could be people out there who actually need us” Natasha said, turning to walk back to her partner

They said goodbye to Sue and Ben before driving off again

“I fancy a coffee, do you want a coffee?” Clint asked

“You have a problem Barton”

“It’s not a problem, just a healthy appreciation of the stuff”

 

“Ambulance 52, callout to 15 Miller Place, circumstances unconfirmed”

“Ambulance 52, responding”

“Circumstances unconfirmed?” Steve asked, sounding worried

“Chill new kid, it’s probably just some old woman who’s fallen and can’t get up. Happens all the time”

They reached the flats and entered through the door, Hank still teasing Steve about his nervousness while Bruce laughed, remembering his first day on the job; Hank had teased him relentlessly too. They made their way up the stairs to the first floor, which was when three shots were fired...

Chapter Text

Hank went down with a thud as Steve dove behind the stair case and Bruce took shelter round the corner

“What are you doing here?” someone yelled from above. The young man was clearly hysterical; crazy and had a weapon, definitely not a combination they needed right now

“Hey man, we’re just paramedics” Steve shouted, edging slightly towards Hank who was lay in the middle of the hallway groaning; he’d taken a bullet in his chest and was losing blood fast

Bullets rained around Steve and he jumped back undercover

“Don’t come any closer! Don’t-“

“We don’t have any weapons, we’re just here to help someone! Let me help him” Steve shouted, edging out once more

“I said don’t!”

Steve took a step back. He could hear Hank groaning from where he lay, bleeding out. He glanced to Bruce who was oddly quiet. Bruce was crouched round the corner, and Steve could only hope he wasn’t hurt as he radioed for help;

“Control, this is Ambulance 52. Shots fired at our current location, we have a man down. Please send police and an additional bus, repeat shots fired, paramedic down”

“Roger Ambulance 52, 51 dispatched and police en route”

All Bruce could think as he watched his friend gasp for breath, his blood spilling out over the floor, was about his first day on the job;

’It’s no different from school, Banner. Us, the medics; we’re the geeks. Firefighters are the jocks, and the cops are they’re the popular kids who no one really likes... But we’ve got to play nice, because one day we may have to trust them to save out ass, just like they’re going to have to rely on us. Remember that Banner, it could save your life’

Sue and Ben entered the building, weapons raised, shouting orders at the man still wielding the gun

“No no no! It’s not supposed to be you!” came the frustrated response from the man upstairs

Sue shot a confused look to her partner as Jess and Darcy arrived

“Stay back” Ben warned as Sue snuck forward. She managed to grab Hank’s uniform and drag him backwards, out of the line of fire so the medics could get to work on him.

The shooter seemed to get spooked now the cops were here and ran for it, Ben and Sue hot on his heels. They chased him up thirteen flights of stairs before they lost sight of him. Ben exited on the fourteenth floor to see if he could locate him, while Sue carried on up to the roof on the odd chance he’d headed that way.

“Negative on the roof Grimm”

“Nothing here either, you get a look at the guy?”

“Yeah, it was Daniels”

“Matty Daniels?”

“The one and only”

“Damn it!”

 

“We gotta get him in, we can’t stabilise him here” Jessica said, helping Steve move Hank’s unconscious form onto a body board to move him

Bruce had snapped back to himself when Sue had pulled Hank back, barking out instructions and working to stop the bleeding;

“Jess is right, we gotta go. Now”

The four paramedics hauled their patient, and friend, back to the bus and hightailed it over to the hospital as fast as they could physically go.

 

Across town, Clint was complaining about being bored since 55-David got the last call out. He was driving round when something caught his eye;

“Nat call into central” he instructed, climbing out of the car and running towards a burning building. Smoke billowed out of widows as people rushed out through the doors.

“Central this is 55-Foxtrot; we need a truck and a bus to a fire on the corner of Jefferson and Garnet”

“Copy 55-Foxtrot”

Natasha stood there torn; her partner was in there. He could need her help, but she couldn’t face the fire... Not again. It was the one thing about the job that really got to her; bullets and drugs and fights she could handle, but not fires...

Looking around desperately, hoping for sirens and flashing lights approaching but seeing none. She shook her head, trying to clear her mind of her past before making herself to follow her partner into the smoke.

She forced herself through the heat and smoke, through the fear; searching for Clint.

“Barton? Barton!” she called, coughing, determination pushing her forward, however she was distracted when she saw movement to her left, seeing a young girl alone and scared in the smoke filled hallway.

 

The fire truck arrived, quickly unloading the equipment and getting to work.

“Thor, 55-Foxtrot’s ride is here, you seen them?”

“No” he admitted, looking around for Officers Romanoff and Barton. He’d heard the fire had been called in by a cop.

“They’re inside aren’t they?” Carol asked, knowing Clint

“I would not be surprised of Barton, but Romanoff?”

Carol sighed; “If he went in, there’s not a whole lot that’d stop her following him”

Thor nodded in agreement, calling out to his men; “Okay guys, double time – we work this floor by floor, priority is evacuation and containment. It’s possible we have two Officers in there, let’s get them out”

“Barton by any chance?” came the arrogant voice of Michael Hermann

“Doesn’t matter who; they’re part of 55, we get them out” Thor warned, before leading a team of his firefighters into the building.

 

Over at New York Presbyterian Hospital the Paramedics from Firehouse 55 had just offloaded Hank Pym to Doctor Richards; they rushed him straight to theater, as Doctor Richards requested someone page Doctor Foster and six units of type-O blood.

Bruce slumped in a chair, rubbing his face tiredly

“Ambulance 51, Ambulance 52; urgent call; fire at Jefferson and Garnet, multiple casualties”

The four looked to each other, none of them wanted to leave, and one of the rigs was still at their last call out since the four of them had traveled to the hospital together...

“Ambulance 51 responding, Ambulance 52 otherwise engaged” Jessica said into her radio, softly squeezing Bruce’s shoulder as she followed Darcy back out of the hospital.

 

Ben and Sue made it back to headquarters to fill in their report when they ran into a familiar face;

“Stark?” Ben asked, failing to hide the surprise from his voice

“Hey Grimm, Hi Sue” he greeted, a little too friendly for him

“We didn’t expect you back so soon” Sue commented

“Soon? I’ve been off for three months! I’m bored as hell, eager to get back out on the streets” he smiled

“Streets?” Ben asked, thinking he’d misheard. Tony Stark had joined the NYPD right out of school, jumping straight up to Sergeant thanks to the former Chief of Police; Howard Stark. Ben didn't think Tony had ever done a day on the streets in his life.

“Yeah, decided it’s about time to pay my dues, I’m returning as Officer” he told them, as someone passed him his navy blue uniform; something he’d never had to wear before

They bid him farewell as they headed to speak to Coulson.

The revelation from Stark had surprised them; Tony had been a ‘do the least amount of work as possible’ kind of guy, and then three months ago he’d had to go and help in a hostage situation and ended up as one of the hostages himself. It was a long standoff, and Stark had taken three bullets in the eventual shoot out. No one had expected him to return at all, but to return and take a job two ranks below his previous; that was certainly unexpected.

 

Thor pulled another man from the burning building, looking over the ten or so people waiting to be seen by the medics as Darcy and Jess worked as fast as they could to see everyone. They really needed another rig... He’d called in to get one sent from the nearest firehouse, but now Firehouse 57 (Jess’ previous house) had closed down, it’d still take a while to get here because the nearest firehouse was still quite a distance away.

Carol appeared by his side, reporting the eighth floor was clear

“Any sign of Clint or Natasha?” he asked hopefully

She shook her head, pulling off her oxygen mask as she glanced over to their abandoned car...

Chapter Text

Clint stumbled out of the building, dragging a woman and her teenage son with him, just as one of the windows on one of the upper floors blew out; raining glass down on them as they struggled over to Jess and Darcy.

Jess immediately looked over the teenage boy and his mother; both of which were fine, if a little short of breath, thanks to Clint

“Barton! Barton!” Thor shouted, running over to him.

Clint looked up and shot him a grin; “Am in trouble Lieutenant?” he asked with his usual air of arrogance and cheek

Oh God, he doesn’t know Thor thought

Clint brushed off Darcy’s concerns as she tried to check him over while he noticed the apparent lack of his partner yelling at him for his stupidity

“Wait, where’s Nat?” he asked, looking from Thor, to Darcy and back again

“We, erm. We are not sure” Thor answered

“What do you mean you’re not sure?!” the panic and anger was practically radiating off him as his eyes glanced back to the building

He stood abruptly, startling both Darcy and Thor. Clint made to head back towards the building, but Thor blocked his way;

“We will find her” he promised, gently pushing Clint back to sit on the ground so Darcy could finish checking him over

“Why would she- I never thought she’d-“ Clint mumbled to Darcy as Thor turned to help his team

 

Steve stood awkwardly as Hank’s wife arrived at the hospital. In a second she went from crying in Bruce’s arms to shouting at him;

“He shouldn’t have even been there! I’ve been begging him to take a safer job for years! A better area, out of the city. He turned down tons of promotions and look at what it got him! ...We have three kids Bruce! What do I do if I lose him?” she collapsed back into tears clinging to Bruce to support her

“I’m sorry Janet... I’m sorry”

Steve disappeared to get some coffee; it had been a long shift. He came back with three cups to see Doctor Foster and Doctor Reed approaching them, and he just knew. They had the same look in their eyes; sympathetic and sad, that his mothers doctors had worn when they’d told him the news...

“I’m sorry Mrs. Pym, we tried everything we could, but there was nothing we could do...” Doctor Richards informed them, before leaving

Janet fell back into heart wrenching sobs, collapsing into the chair Steve had previously been sat in. Bruce sank into the chair beside her, looking blank and vacant.

Even Jane Foster shed a tear; she’d been working this job almost as long as Hank had, and they’d come to know each other pretty well over the years

Steve felt like a spare part; all the people here knew Hank, really knew him, and Steve had only been working with him for a few hours... Yet here he was, witness to his death and the torment it left his loved ones, and all he could do was awkwardly offer each of them a bad cup of coffee from the vending machine down the hall...

 

“So you say the shooter was Matty Daniels?” Coulson asked, concern flickering all over his face

Ben glanced at his partner, who answered with complete confidence; “I’m certain of it”

“Central, radio 55-Foxtrot and get them back here” he asked, before turning back to the two officers sat in front of him;

“Thanks for your report” he dismissed them

“Sergeant Coulson, 55-Foxtrot are not responding” came the reply from Officer Cruz

Coulson rushed over to the main desk, leaving Ben and Sue to leave in their own time

“What was their last know location?”

“They called in a high rise fire at 21.05”

Coulson looked at the time; they’d been radio silent for almost an hour

“Who else responded to that fire?”

“Ambulance 51, truck 81 and squad 9. Truck 17 from firehouse 57 en route”

“Radio Lieutenant Odinson” Coulson instructed, “And send 55-David to that location!”

 

“Truck 81, this is Sergeant Coulson at 55”

“Lieutenant Odison, how can I help you Sergeant?”

“55-David is en route to you location, do you have eyes on 55-Foxtrot?”

“Not at the moment Sergeant, what is going on?” he couldn't bare to tell him about Natasha until they knew more

“You remember Matty Daniels?"

"Yes sir"

"Well he shot a paramedic earlier today. 55-David responded and Daniels was muttering about them being the ‘wrong ones’, we suspect he’ll be looking for Barton and Romanoff”

Thor sighed, as Johnny appeared next to him “Yeah, well he’s not the only one”

“Still nothing?” Thor questioned Johnny, after promising Coulson to inform the Officers about Daniels

“No nothing, and it’s getting hot in there. Listen, are we sure she’s even in there? I mean I know Nat, and there’s no way in hell she’d go in there without a reason”

“She had a reason” Thor said, glancing back to Clint who was pacing worriedly while Darcy tried to talk him down

“Let’s get back in there” Thor instructed, pulling his oxygen mask over his head and making his way back into the building with Johnny on his heels

 

“Stark, I have your partner assignment” Fury instructed as Tony strolled into his office

Nick Fury had taken over the role of Chief of Police when Howard had died, and he and Tony didn’t always see eye to eye...

“No offence Fury, but I don’t work with a partner”

“You do when you work the streets Stark, this was your decision, now live with it”

He groaned, Tony Stark was not known to play well with others

“Who’d I get stuck with? Please tell me it’s not Sitwell”

“You, Mr. Stark, will be working with our new recruit”

“What? Babysitting duty?! Look, I know I chose to go back on the beat, but why are you punishing me?”

“This is not a punishment Stark, you are my only officer currently without a partner, so you work the desk or you take the new recruit”

“Okay fine, what’s his name?”

Her name is Sif Velez”

Chapter Text

“Fire department, call out! Is anyone there? Natasha? Natasha?” Johnny called as he made his way through the smoke filled hallways. Thor stuck his hand out to prevent the young fire fighter taking another step when he noticed the gaping hole in the floor where it had fallen through to the floor below.

The hallway beneath them was where the majority of the fire remained, the rest of it having been reached and put out by Thor’s team.

The two fire fighters turned to head back to the stairs when they heard something, it was static and muffled, fragmented words, but it was something...

“Is that Barton?” Johnny asked, looking around confused

Thor leant out the window, where he could see Officer Barton pacing back and forth by the ambulance, talking into his radio

“It is Barton! It’s coming through Romanoff’s radio!”

 

Tony drove round the city with his new partner in silence, he didn’t really know what to say; he definitely wasn’t a people person. But he was determined to make this work, he’d been living off his fathers name for far too long and it was about time he proved his worth...

“Excuse me, excuse me Officer?” Tony looked out of his open window to see a man in a truck shouting him

“There’s a bunch of squatters down the street in a building I’m supposed to start renovating tomorrow!”

“Squatters aren’t our jurisdiction sir, if you call the-“ Sif began

“No it’s okay, come on Velez; we’ve got nothing else to do”

Tony smiled at his partner, before assuring the builder they’d get it sorted and heading down the street.

They entered the high rise block of flats and set to work. It was mostly full of drunks and addicts, some of them homeless. It was dirty and dank, and with no working lights.

Most of the squatters left with no problem, some of them still far too drunk to even comprehend what was going on. One of them made some trouble when he offered Sif his opinion on women police officers, but she fixed his opinion when she punched him in the face, and Tony couldn’t help but grin.

“You know, you remind me a little of Romanoff” he told her, noticing her smile in return

“I’ll take that as a compliment”

“It was intended as one” Tony clarified, as they made their way up the stairs

 

“Daniels?”

“Yes Sir”

“Matty Daniels?”

“That’s what Storm said Sir” Coulson answered his boss

“This is messed up” Lieutenant Hill said, passing over the case file to Chief Fury

“Matty Daniels is supposed to be in a psychiatric institute”

“’Supposed to be’ being the key point; I rang Bellevue and they said Daniels has been AWOL for over a week”

Fury took a moment to refamiliarise himself with the case;

Six months ago Barton and Romanoff had been on the tail of Louis Daniels; drug addict, turned dealer who’d started experimenting in human trafficking. They’d tracked him to a warehouse and tried to bring him in, but everything went wrong when Matty turned up wielding a gun. Matty managed to get a shot in, hitting Clint in his vest but taking him down nonetheless. Natasha had returned fire, but Louis had jumped in front of his little brother and taken the bullet for him.

Louis died on the way to hospital, while Matty had been sent to Bellevue after suffering a psychotic break.

A junior Officer entered the office; “Sir, we have a sighting of Daniels. He was spotted in a building down on 72nd Street”

 

“Ambulance 52 do you copy?”

Steve glanced over to Bruce; he was in no fit state to be working right now, apparently no one had informed control about Hank

“Ambulance 52” Bruce said into his radio, the glare he shot Steve stopped anything he had to say

“Ambulance 52 still requiring back up at the high rise fire at Jefferson and Garnet”

“Abulance 52 responding” “Come on newbie; back to work”

“But-“

Bruce just shook his head, glancing down the hallway where Janet was sat in the room with Hank’s body; “They need some time alone”

 

“Natasha! Natasha?”

“Down there, did you see that?” Johnny asked, pointing towards the debris below them

It was difficult to see through the smoke, but Thor definitely saw something move;

“Let’s get down there” he instructed, turning to the stairs in order to run down to the floor below

When Natasha had entered the building, her intention had been to drag her stupid partners ass back outside to wait for the fire fighters to arrive, helping anyone she found on the way. Unfortunately it hadn’t quite worked out like that.

She’d seen a small terrified little girl cowering in a hallway. She’d gone to help her, when the ceiling above her had caved in on top of them both.
Natasha had taken most of it, shielding the young girl with her body. But the both of them were now trapped, the fire was getting closer, and it was becoming harder to breathe

Thor began to pull the rubble and debris off Natasha, as Johnny ran outside to grab some equiptment so they could move her. He’d originally trained as a paramedic before joining the fire department, so was well trained to deal with the situation

“You found her?” Clint almost pleaded as he saw Johnny running towards Jessica

He nodded, grabbing what he needed

“Is she okay?”

“I don’t know, I hope so” was all he answered before he turned to run back into the building

“You know, he kinda looks like the new kid... Don’t you think?” Darcy commented

“Storm hurry up! The floors about to give way”

Johnny awkwardly manoeuvred into a position to help Thor drag her body from under the remaining bits of rubble and metal poles

“I got her, I got her” he said, pulling Natasha to a safer place in order to quickly assess her

“Storm, there’s a kid here too”

Johnny looked up to see a terrified child crouching where they’d just pulled Natasha out of. She, unlike Natasha, was conscious and other than a being covered in a bit of soot, looked absolutely fine

“Lieutenant, you gotta get out of there” came Carol Danvers’ voice over the radio

“On our way Carol” he answered, grabbing the kid and taking off his oxygen mask to give to her. He followed Johnny quickly down the seven flights of stairs to the exit

Just as the four of them made the lobby of the building there was a huge crashing sound as more of the upper floors collapsed, raining dust and soot down on them as they exited onto the street.

Chapter Text

Darcy and Jess were waiting for them as they exited, with Clint right beside them.
Johnny lay Natasha on the gurney and watched as the two paramedics got to work. They stripped Natasha’s uniform shirt off her, leaving her in the vest she wore underneath as they attached the cardiac monitors.
Jessica, to her credit, hid the shock on her face fairly well as the scars from old, healed burns were exposed; extending over Natasha’s right shoulder and down her back. Darcy, newer to the job that Jess didn’t hide it so well, she caught Clint glancing at her when she froze;

“I- I didn’t know”

“No one did” Clint answered back, taking Natasha’s hand in his.

Everyone knew Natasha wasn’t fond of fires, she'd even gone so far as to admit she hated them (she'd never use the word scared), but no one knew why... No one but him anyway, and now he was kicking himself for running into that god damn building; he should have know that she’d follow him, he should have thought... But he didn't.

Darcy grabbed the ambu bag and pressed it firmly to Natasha’s face as Jessica inserted an IV, hooking it up to a bag of liquids she gave to Johnny to hold

“We need to move, you coming with?” Jess asked Clint, who had no intentions of leaving his partner

“I’ll drive” Johnny informed them, following closely behind as they made their way over to their bus; allowing both Jessica and Darcy to keep working while they transferred her to the hospital

“Kit? Kit!” a woman ran over to Thor, who was still holding the little girl he’d pulled from the building “Oh thank God! Thank you so much!” cried the woman, who appeared to be the young girls Mom

“Don’t thank me, it was a police officer who save her” Thor said, handing over the woman’s daughter as another ambulance rounded the corner

“Banner, what are you doing here?” Ben Grimm asked when he saw who was climbing out of the bus

“I’ve got a job to do Grimm”

“Listen, I heard about Pym, no one would blame you if you didn’t want to-“

“It doesn’t matter what I want Ben, this is the job so I’m here to do it”
With that Bruce strolled off, most of the people had been assessed and checked out by Darcy, Jess or the team who’d come in to help out from uptown; there were just a few needing a transfer in now

“55-David come in?”

“55-David” Sue responded, watching Bruce and Steve loading a woman into their ambulance

“Sightings of Daniels at a high rise on 72nd Street, a team is heading in are you available to attend?”

“55-David responding” “Come on Grimm, we gotta move”

 

A few minutes later Sue and Ben were stood with Coulson, Hill and a team of officers waiting to move in when a steady stream of people started exiting the building in question, followed by Officer Sif Velez

“Is that-“

“Our new recruit; yes. What are they doing in there?”

“55-Charlie respond”

“55-Charlie”

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Sif looked around, confused, as the Chief of Police questioned her

“Just clearing out some squatters, Sir”

“Where is your partner Officer Velez?”

“He’s inside the building Sir”

“He’s not responding”

“His radio doesn’t work”

“Damn it! All units; move in. We’re looking for Matty Daniels, do not let him slip past us!”

Several Officers made their way towards the building, when three shots were heard on one of the upper floors

 

Tony went down on the third shot as Matty came out from his hiding place behind the door;

“Why, why is it always you! You’re always wrong, the wrong one, wrong again, always always wrong!” Daniels was going on and on, pacing back and forth in front of Tony; who had never been more thankful for a bulletproof vest in his life. Daniels was too busy ranting and Tony had no idea what his deal was, until he heard something familiar;

“Red hair and a gun, stupid girl, and a stupid partner. All their fault, their fault not mine!”

He was talking about Romanoff and Barton

“Need to find them, they’ll come one day. One day they’ll come and they’ll pay, Louis would make them but he’s not here, all their fault! And I'll make them pay, oh they'll pay!”

Tony had lost his gun when he’d fallen, he cursed himself; rookie mistake

Daniels glanced back down at him, realising he wasn’t actually dead and his anger levels rose. Tony had to act fast, so he stood and charged, hitting Daniels in the chest. The momentum caused them both to break through the window and fall two floors down to the sidewalk below, where they landed with a painful thud

Tony rolled off Daniels, who was still ranting about Clint and Natasha in between screaming out in pain. All the Officers crowded round him while Sif made her way over to her partner

“Nice going Stark” she commented, sitting on the sidewalk beside him wearing a grin on her face

“You got any asprin?” he asked, watching as Coulson cuffed Daniels and called for an ambulance

“Hey Hill, where are Romanoff and Barton?” Tony asked, as the Lieutenant strolled past

“They’re over at New York Pres, why?”

“That guy, he keeps ranting about them”

“He’s after revenge Stark”

“It wise to take him to the same hospital?”

“Don’t worry; he’ll be heading back to Bellevue by tomorrow morning”

 

Jess and Darcy arrived at the hospital just a few minutes after Bruce and Steve had left.
They found Jane was waiting for them;

“Oh my God, Natasha? What the hell happened?”

“She got trapped in a building fire” Jessica informed the doctor. Jane and Natasha were friends, they knew each other well and Jane was one of the only doctors Natasha really trusted, so Jess was glad she was here so receive their patient. Even if she was unconscious at the moment...

They proceeded to move into a private room so Jane could assess her

“Ambulance 51, NYPD requesting prisoner transport”

Darcy groaned, were they ever going to catch a break this shift... It was Hank's fault for using the 'q' word! And that reminded her: Hank...

“This is Ambulance 51, we are currently engaged and not available for any jobs at present” Jess answered firmly

“10-4 Ambulance 51”

“But Jess-“

“We’re busy Darcy, we’ve brought two friends in here today, we deserve a break”

The two paramedics were stood outside Natasha’s room waiting for an update when Doctor Richards walked past;

“Doctor Richards... Reed!”

He finally looked up from his chart and greeted the two women

“Reed, how’s Hank doing?”

“You- you didn’t hear?”

They shook their heads, but they could both guess what was about to be said

However Doctor Richards didn’t get a chance to tell them; he was interrupted when the code alarm went off in Natasha’s room