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You Save Me

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I've been looking through my mirror
With somebody else's eyes
You broke me down
You fixed my blood stained crown

Natasha leans in and stares hard at herself. She tilts her head this way and that, examining the bruise that takes up nearly half of her face. She prods her cheekbone experimentally, wincing. But glad that it wasn’t fractured. Just tender. She could hide all of the other bruises, and even the bullet graze, if she could skirt her girlfriend’s libido for a few nights. But she can’t hide the bruise on her face, and she really doesn’t want Darcy to worry. She knows by the time she arrives back in New York, the bruise will look worse. She really hadn’t expected her target to be so abnormally large. Or to have friends. Who were also abnormally large. And armed. The entire mission had her rattled. Her intel was bad, and when she went to go clear the place out, she had found easily some of the more horrific things she had seen. She regretted giving the men such clean and quick deaths as she had unchained the two girls that remained. She could easily imagine what sorts of things had gone on down there. Even beaten up as she had been, she had managed to get both girls to a contact she had in the city. She knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Black Rose would see to the girls care. He’d done the same for her, more than once. They would be safe with him, he would find good places for them. Or let them stay. But she knew he would see to their health, and that was what she was worried about. And yet, she can’t put this one behind her. Not like she usually does. It is clawing and praying on her mind, sitting in her gut like lead. She hangs her head, unable to look at her own reflection much longer. Logically she knows she can’t save everyone, but there had been other girls in that basement. Ones she hadn’t been able to save. God, they were just children. She hates how sick and filthy the world is, she hates that she can only save some.

She hears a crack, and glances down. The cheap porcelain sink has cracked beneath her grip. She turns away, disgusted with herself. She can’t go back to Darcy like this. But she wants nothing more than to go to Darcy. It isn’t even about the bruises, or the wounds she doesn’t want Darcy to witness. This mission has fucked her up, and left her shaken. She hates anyone seeing her like this. Even the people closest to her. When Natasha breaks, she breaks hard. And sometimes, the world just gets to be too much. She buries her head in her hands and wants nothing more to scream. Instead she shuffles back into her hotel room and flops face down on the bed. A few tears leak out, but for the most part, she just lays there, trying to put herself back together. She finally makes a decision, she needs to be home. She needs help to completely repair herself, and she knows Darcy can do just that. Natasha allows herself an hour to wallow before she gets up. She showers, dresses and re-packs. Pays for the room and walks out to her car. She’s fourteen hours out from NYC, but she wants to be home so badly. Stopping at a gas station loads her up with carbs and caffeine, enough to keep herself going so she could drive it straight through.

I've running through my window
At somebody else's world
You let me fall
Right through your open door

By the time she reaches the outer limits of New York City, she feels it. Exhaustion is catching up with her. She’s probably pushing sixty some hours on maybe three hours of sleep. On top of the fighting and emotional response she’s had, it’s catching up. Still, there’s that car that’s been tailing her since the interstate, and she’s not about to lead a tail to Darcy. So she pulls off in the Bronx and slips out of her car, hiding in the alley. She doesn’t have to wait long until the other car pulls out, and four beefy guys climb out. Absently she wonders how four guys that size fit in a four door Saturn, but that thought is quickly pushed away. They’re inspecting her car, and beefy number one nearly rips her driver’s side door off. Pity, she liked that car.

“She’s not in here, find her! Boss wants the bitch’s head on a gold platter.” He growls out, and Natasha can’t help but smirk. She doesn’t know why they’re after her, but they’ll soon regret tailing her. One gets too close to her hiding spot, and she leaps, garrote out and around his neck. He goes down with only quiet grunts. The other three are still searching the darkened street. Still, she gets unlucky, and one of the others turns at the right time.

You came and saved me you saved me from myself
You came and saved me you saved me from myself

“You bitch!” He screams and charges. Must’ve been a football player, she absently notes. She sidesteps his charge easily, sticking out a leg to send him face-planting on the asphalt. She’s already advancing on the other two. Two she can fight in her current state. Maybe. They both go to throw punches and she ducks, slamming her elbow in the groin of one and slamming her heel down on the foot of the other. Groin-guy doubles over, falling to the ground, but the other guy. The one who is in change, apparently. He sizes her up.

“Who sent you?” She asks, hand on her sidearm.

“You killed the boss’s brother, you gotta pay, bitch!” He yells, and Natasha sighs. Apparently bitch is the only shared vocabulary between the four. Big guy pulls out a knife and she smirks. Who brings a knife to a gunfight? She levels her gun at him and is just about to fire when she feels herself hauled up, arms around her torso. Well damn. She slams her feet against him, but he’s holding on for all he has. Big guy number one advances on her with the knife, and she realizes she has the answer to her earlier question. Who brings a knife to a gunfight? A guy with friends. She really doesn’t want to be impaled tonight. Or ever. But she needs a bit more time. Which she doesn’t have. So she twists in the other guy’s grip, and the knife that was probably going to end up in her heart, gets buried hilt deep into her shoulder. And that arm goes numb. Her gun clatters to the ground. But she’s not out yet. She gets in a good hit on the guy holding her, swings herself up and wraps her hips around his neck. Then she uses his own weight against him and slams him against the ground. She’s up, gun in hand, pointed at big guy number one. She doesn’t hesitate this time, plants a bullet right between his eyes. She knows she snapped the beefy neck of the one holding her. She walks over to the guy still doubled over from the groin shot. The only one still alive.

“You tell this boss of yours that I’ll be paying him a visit. And it won’t be friendly.” She tells the guy, firing a bullet into his foot. Then she turns and walks back to her car. A brief inspection of the door finds it still to be serviceable. Which is all she can ask at this point.

I've been running hard on empty
Sinking deeper in the sand
You let me down
Right on to solid ground

Driving with one hand isn’t impossible, just a bit difficult. She’s actually quite grateful this car is an automatic. It would be nearly impossible with a standard transmission. Still, she makes it back to her and Darcy’s apartment. She leaves her gear in the car, she can’t be bothered with it right then. The knife is still buried in her shoulder and it hurts like hell. She estimates it’s about three am when she finally unlocks her door and hauls her exhausted self into the apartment. She closes the door behind her and locks him. Finally looking up, she frowns. Lights are on throughout the apartment.

“Natasha?” Darcy’s voice calls from the kitchen and Natasha almost wants to laugh. Three AM baking binge, most likely. Especially since she can smell mint chocolate cookies from the living room.

“Yeah.” Natasha answers, dragging herself to the couch and collapsing into it. She needs to take care of her shoulder but she’s so damned exhausted. She dozes off where she’s sitting.

“Jesus christ on a pogo stick!” Natasha’s head snaps up, only to be greeted by Darcy’s worried face. Natasha blinks for a few moments, trying to process everything.

“Is that a knife in your shoulder? That’s a knife in your shoulder. Holy shit.” Darcy exclaims and then she’s booking it towards the bedroom. Natasha blinks again, remembering why she was reluctant to return home injured. Guess that worked out well. Darcy’s seen her injured much worse, but the brunette always reacts loudly to Natasha’s injuries. It’s one of Darcy’s traits that Natasha has come to expect. A bit more awake now, she leans her head back and stares at the ceiling.

You came and saved me you saved me from myself
You came and saved me you saved me from myself
When everyone left me you loved me and no one else
You came and saved me you saved me from myself

“You look like shit.” Darcy comments, returning with their large and well stocked medkit. Natasha tries to dredge up a smirk, but it probably comes out as a grimace.

“Should see the other guys.” She mutters. She should really take care of her injuries herself, but it was her and Bruce who had trained Darcy, and Natasha has never doubted Darcy’s skills.

“I’m kind of hoping you murdered the fuck out of them, honestly. They kind of shoved a knife in my girlfriend’s shoulder.” Darcy deadpans, pulling out scissors from the kit. Natasha does manage a smirk this time, angling her shoulder so Darcy has better access. “I liked this jacket on you too. This is the third leather jacket in four months, ‘Tasha. I’m starting to believe I should just have Tony buy you a warehouse of leather jackets.” She comments as she cuts the jacket off. Natasha chuckles. Just being around Darcy is making everything a little bit better. And the sarcastic banter is so soothing, like a balm on her soul.

“At least you haven’t started healing around it. Because after that one time, I really don’t ever want to repeat that. We were digging a bullet out of a mostly healed wound, even if Bruce was doing most of the work. It was still really awful.” Darcy continues, peeling back Natasha’s shirt to reveal the wound.

“Uh. We should probably get Bruce for this, Nat. I only know basic stuff and I think this hit tendons. Or whatever.” Darcy pokes at Natasha’s limp arm and then fixes her with a look. Natasha shakes her head.

“Just help me get it stitched up, everything else will heal on its own.” She assures Darcy, trying to offer a reassuring smile for her girlfriend. She’s not entirely sure it works, but she’s growing weary again. But that might be the blood leaking out of her shoulder.

“Right. Crazy healing. This is going to bleed everywhere, hold on.” Darcy says, standing and heading for the bathroom. She comes back with their designated towels for this sort of this. Darcy likes to call them gore towels, but Natasha can get blood out of anything. Especially towels. Natasha adjusts a bit so Darcy can protect the couch with the towels before kneeling back down. Her girlfriend pulls a syringe out of the kit and holds it, almost like a question. Natasha nods. She knows what it is, anesthetic. And she’s definitely not going to say no to it now. Darcy gives it to her and then rocks back on her heels. They don’t have to wait long.

“Right. I’m going to pull it out. I hope.” Darcy says, grabbing the hilt of the dagger with one hand and bracing her other on Natasha’s chest. Natasha has to smirk, up until the blade actually comes out. She has to bite down on a cry, because the damn blade dragged along bone on the way out. And Darcy was right, she’s most definitely bleeding everywhere now. Darcy squeaks a little at the amount of blood, but she’s already getting to work on Natasha’s shoulder.

“So when you convinced Bruce to train me in first aid, were you planning on me being your personal nurse? Because I could totally rock a sexy nurse’s outfit. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t like that, Nat.” Darcy says conversationally, and Natasha chuckles, trying not to move so it would be easier for her girlfriend.

“Actually no. You’re dating one of the most dangerous people alive right now, we just wanted you to be able to take care of yourself. Same reason I’ve trained you to protect yourself. First aid is just another way of doing that.” Natasha responds. This normalcy is helping to piece her back together. But still she feels fractured, broken.

I had hope in my heart
That you'd run for me
Can saved it all
Now I feel in my heart that you've come for me
You leave me love

“Alright, you no longer have a hole in your shoulder. Anything else I should know about. Besides that lovely shiner on your face, really, it completes the picture, Nat.” Darcy says, pulling back and wiping her hands on the towel. Natasha shakes her head.

“Bruises and scrapes, milaya . Nothing more.” She says tiredly, running a hand across her face.

“Good, now we can focus on what’s really wrong. Because I can tell, Nat. Something’s off. Something has you all off-kilter. I notice things like that, especially when it’s the person I’m dating. So talk. Spill. Get it out.” As Darcy speaks, she is sitting on the couch next to Natasha. In one swift motion Darcy has tugged Natasha against her chest, and all Natasha can do is sigh.

“The mark, he was sick. Wrong. He kept little girls in his basement. Did things to them. I only found two alive. Got them to safety, but god. What I saw down there. What they must have gone through. It didn’t bring up pleasant memories, Darce.” Natasha is exhausted, physically and emotionally. Her voice is exhausted, bone-weary. Darcy stays silent for a moment before wrapping her arms around Natasha and pulling her closer.

“But you got those girls out. Gave them a chance, right? You should focus on that. But I know you too damn well, and you’re dwelling on who you couldn’t save. And there’s nothing I can say or do besides be here for you that will make that stop.” Her girlfriend says, and Natasha looked up with a tired smile. Somehow, Darcy always understands. Natasha can’t begin to answer why that is, but it just is.

You came and saved me you saved me from myself
You came and saved me you saved me from myself
When everyone left me you loved me and no one else
You came and saved me you saved me from myself

“C’mon. Let’s go to bed. We can have cookies for breakfast.” Darcy says after they have been sitting together for some time. Natasha blinks, she has nearly fallen asleep where they are. Darcy eases her up and helps her to her feet, steadying Natasha as she wavers. Together they head into the bedroom, where Natasha quickly curls up against Darcy’s chest. It isn’t often Darcy is the big spoon, but tonight, that is just what Natasha needs. And again, Darcy just knows.

Baby you saved me from myself
Baby you saved me from myself
You came and saved me you saved me from myself
When everyone left me you loved me and no one else
You came and saved me you saved me from myself