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It's a Game of Give and Take

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“Aliens?” Seriously?” Clint Barton was not fond of aliens, with the sole exception of Thor. Because Thor was his buddy. Loki, and the Chitauri, and anything else that came from ‘outer space’ were not. He zipped up his field uniform and gave his partner a look. She glanced back at him.

“There’s only about two dozen of them and they’re not built like Thor.” Natasha answered, slipping on her taser bracelets and slipping her handguns in their holsters.

“See?! This is why we can’t have nice things.” Clint grumbled, already heading out to join the rest of the team. Natasha stayed behind for one reason, and said reason came strolling through the door seconds after Clint had left. Natasha’s face softened slightly at the approach of her lover, his helmet tucked under his arm and a sly grin on his face. Their relationship was unusual to say the least, and had someone told her two years ago she’d not only be fighting alongside Tony Stark, but sleeping with him, well, she would have called them nuts and moved on. But here she was, and their mutual love was something Tasha cherished. Clint and her, well, it wasn’t that they hadn’t worked out, she did love him, but as a brother, not a lover. As she mused internally, Tony had pulled her against his suit. And she let him.

“Be careful, babe?” he asked, as per their usual pre-battle ritual. She nodded and requested the same of him. They always followed that with a kiss and –

“Stop face sucking and get out here!” Natasha rolled her eyes at Clint’s words and pulled back from Tony. He slipped his helmet on and they walked out to the team together. As they entered the gathering, Fury was laying out the plan.

“Keep them in the containment zone or kill them. They’ve shown aggression towards humans, and seem to enjoy tearing people apart. We evacuated a two mile radius when the portal appeared, so you should not have any civilians running around.” Fury said calming, tossing down a file with pictures of the creatures.

“These look like –“ Bruce started before Thor butted in. “These are Wendigos, vicious creatures that eat anything in their path. Their claws and teeth rend flesh and armor.” The god finished, peering about his companions.

“You’re shitting me, Thor. Wendigos are real, and we get to deal with them?” Clint motioned to the pictures on the table; seven foot tall hairy humanoid creatures with oversized claws and maws full of razor sharp teeth.

“Wendigos are quite real, and are excellent practice for young Aes.” Thor beamed proudly.

“Wait, you let kids fight these things? Thor, I know I say this a lot, but your culture is crazy,” Clint said, staring blatantly at the pictures from the file.

“Well, while we’re here chatting, these things are tearing up lower Manhattan,” Tony piped in cheerfully. If little Thorlings could take these suckers, then the Avengers shouldn’t have a problem. “Sooner we kill them, the sooner we can move on with our lives.” he added. The rest of the team nodded and as a group they headed towards the helipad.

Steve spread the team out, to contain and destroy the small invasion. The creatures weren’t too bright, despite their deadly claws and teeth.

“So, Thor, your kids fight these things?” Tony’s voice came over their link.

“Indeed! They are quite fun for younglings!” was Thor’s enthusiastic response. It had taken a while to get Thor to wear a communication’s device, let alone design one that would stand up to his electrifying tendencies.

“Guys, I’m switching to explosives, watch out.” Clint called over the chatter. After watching six of the wendigos wandering around with arrows sticking out of them, Clint had made the decision of switching. Besides, it was always fun to watch things blow up. He fired an arrow into the skull of one of the ones fighting Iron Man, watching with glee as its head exploded.

“Gross, Hawkeye. Now I’ve got brains on me.” Tony griped, wiping off grey matter from his helmet. He grabbed a second wendigo and blasted it through the gut with a repulsor beam.

 Natasha grinned to herself, off in a corner where she was handling stragglers. She fired up her tasers to deal with an especially trying straggler when lightning tore through her body, eliciting a wretched scream before she crumpled to the ground.

“Natasha!” Was the universal cry from the rest of the team. Tony took very little time in launching himself in the direction he’d last seen his lover.

“Hawkeye, go back up Iron Man. Thor, Hulk and I have got these.” Steve’s voice was abrupt, and Clint wasted no time himself in scurrying across rooftops.

The scene that greeted Tony and Clint was haunting to say the least. A wendigo had Natasha’s shoulder in its teeth and it was attempting to drag her twitching body to an alley. Tony launched himself at the offending wendigo and blasted it a few times, a cry of rage ripping from his throat. It finally let go of Natasha, and he violently kicked the corpse away from his lover. Natasha was still twitching, but it didn’t take long for Tony to find the reason behind that. The tasers were sparking, sending arcs of electricity through her body. Tony snarled and ripped the bracelets off, tossing them behind him. Arms shaking, he reached out to Natasha’s neck and tried desperately to feel for something there.

“No. No no no. JARVIS?” His voice broke, even as his other hand started brushing Natasha’s hair out of her face. Without the source of the electrocution, her body lay still. More still than it should have lain, her wound from the wendigo did not even bleed. Without a word, the A.I. gave Tony a direct feed of Natasha’s vitals and he choked on a sob.

“Tony, pull yourself together!” Clint’s voice jolted Tony’s world back into focus. “Your suit can deliver an electric shock, right?” Tony blinked, then realized what the archer was trying to say. Jaw set with determination, he used the suit to rip through his assassin’s catsuit. In theory, he knew how to do this. But with his lover beneath him, it was taking all of his strength to not break down. He was pointedly not looking at the burns on her arms, because he needed focus. He tried to recall where his hands were supposed to go, if his mind would just shut up so he could do this.

“JARVIS.” Tony tried to ignore how pathetic his voice sounded, but his A.I. was already a step ahead. JARVIS had already taken control of the suit, even as Tony tried to detach himself from the situation. Distantly, he could hear Clint explaining to the rest of the team, but that was inconsequential to the current situation. He felt sick every time Natasha’s body twitched under his hands. But finally, finally, something went right. The wound on her shoulder started bleeding sluggishly, but Tony distantly noticed her chest was barely moving. But her heart was beating, and Tony could work with that. He carefully gathered Natasha into his arms and stood.

“Tony, SHIELD medics are on their way.” Steve’s voice came over the link, and Tony started. He’d forgotten the rest of the team was there. He didn’t wait, quickly snagging Natasha’s weapons, all of them, before carefully taking off.

“No.” His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. “No. I’m taking her to the Tower and the medical floor there. This wasn’t an accident, someone deliberately tampered with the Widow’s Sting. And the only people who touch them are myself and SHIELD R&D. I’m taking her back to the Tower and locking down the medical floor.” He flew swiftly, but carefully. He was clutching Natasha to his chest in an attempt to buffer the wind.