Living with the Avengers

Chapter Twenty-Two

Heads held high, agents Romanoff and Barton, or Black Widow and Hawkeye, escorted Christopher Nester to the bowels of the helicarrier. Once on board, they didn't have to escort their captured target to his holding cell, but they wanted to make sure this one would be locked away securely.

See, when you make it personal with two of the best SHIELD agents there are, you've got something else coming to you. Nester was the man behind the attacks on Laynie and Carter, not to mention the deaths of their parents. All for the information on that USB drive. Clint and Natasha didn't take kindly to murderers, especially when those people were close to them. Neither of them had quite been friends with the girls' parents, but they knew them, and they knew how hard it hit the girls, and that was more than enough.

Halfway to his prison, Nester came alive and attempted to assault Natasha from behind. He almost did, too. Clint put a fist in his face at the last moment, and Natasha turned around in time to kick his legs out from under him. The man fell unconscious on the floor.

Clint smirked and massaged his hand. He'd broken skin on the man's front teeth. "Sleep tight," he muttered.

"Thanks," Natasha said appreciatively.

"I didn't do it just for you."

"I figured as much." She smiled.

He scowled. "After what he did to Carter and Laynie, he deserves worse than a punch to the face."

"And he'll get it. These aren't the only crimes he's committed. A lot more is coming to light, Clint. He's a domestic terrorist."

Clint threw the man over his shoulder, and they carried on. He dumped the man in the cell, quite carelessly, and they left the rest to the guards.

As they were taking the elevator up to the bridge, Clint sighed. "I miss Carter," he said quietly. "She was fun to torment. And Laynie, too. I wonder if anybody's heard how they're settling into their new homes..." He said the last words with a little bit of hatefulness.

"I haven't heard anything. I'm sure we could contact them somehow." Bitterly she added, "I miss them too. It was a nice change of pace."

Clint smiled sadly. "Yeah, even when they were getting us attacked."

Natasha chuckled. "Even then. Maybe we can see them again sometime." She said hopefully.

Clint shuffled his feet. "Maybe that's not a good idea. Let's not flatter ourselves, but they looked sad when they left. I... Don't want to make them any sadder, even if it makes us happy."

Natasha sighed. "Maybe you're right."

Clint and Natasha stepped out of the elevator to report their mission's success to Director Fury.

"Sir, what was on that USB?" Natasha asked only after their report was finished.

"Classified."

Clint scoffed. "From us?"

He received a one-eyed glare, and got his answer.

"Have you heard anything about how the girls are doing?" Natasha asked Fury.

"They're doing just fine. And it would be in your best interests to forget about them. Give it a few weeks and they'll be nothing but a memory to you."

Clint frowned at the frigid response, but didn't dare to say anything.

Natasha, however, didn't have his sense of self-preservation. "Sir, it was your choice to assign this case to us. We won't apologize for becoming attached to them."

Fury took a step closer to Natasha, and she held her ground. "Well you'd better learn to let go real quick, Agent Romanoff. You're never seeing them again. Not only is that a reality, it's an order. You hear?"

For a split second, Natasha wanted to break Fury's arm, then his ship, and quit her job. Upon remembering her employment wasn't quite optional, she decided a biting response would have to do, but couldn't think of one. There was a lump in her throat.

"Back off, Fury," Clint managed. It was a lame response, but it prevented her from having to make up one.

Without being dismissed, the two left the helicarrier.

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