|Natasha Romanoff (justlykbudapest) wrote in wariscoming,|
@ 2012-08-07 23:14:00
It was simple to slip into the carnival with the night crowd. As she’d told Gary, Natasha had disguised herself; she was dressed in simple dark jeans, boots, a black shirt and a jacket. She’d used a temporary coloring on her hair to turn her blond and left it loose, even added blue contacts to hide her distinctive jade tinted eyes, and carried herself as if she were a young townswoman merely interested and fascinated by the carnival. Under a light jacket she had both of her Glocks tucked into the back of her jeans, and a knife was in each boot, as well as both pockets of her jeans. Under the sleeves of her jacket was her Widow’s Bite wrist cartridges, fully loaded and charged. She was ready for anything this place might throw at her. As she wandered through the carnival, Natasha’s gaze studied the patrons and employees equally closely, taking in every face as she searched for Clint.
Finally, her steps carried her in the direction of the Hall of Mirrors, remembering that he’d seemed to like that particular attraction. If she didn’t find him there, she’d look for him elsewhere, even go to the train cars themselves if she had to. No way in hell was she letting her partner stay there another single night. Moving into the attraction after handing over a ticket, the Russian peered around her, ignoring her own reflection while looking for the archer.
Clint had found a spot in the Hall of Mirrors that allowed him to stare at the mirrors while being hidden from the patrons. At first he had been determined to fight Dark after learning about the true nature of the carnival once here. But now, after learning what had been done to him, what he fed off of now...
There was no saving him. He only prayed Natasha would stay away. She needed to. He wasn’t worth it anymore. He was a monster.
Clint sat crouched on the rafter, staring at the mirrors from his vantage point as they showed him the things he would never get to have. Natasha, smiling and laughing as they sipped on beer or vodka, neither of them bothered by the evils of the world. He bowed his head, his eyes closing as a tear fell before he moved with ease out of the maze and back into the carnival. He had things to do as the carnival was close to closing time.
Spotting a familiar frame exiting the mirrors, Natasha followed, keeping her eyes locked onto his form. After several minutes of closing the distance between them, she managed to finally reach him and grabbed his arm, dragging him forcefully behind a game booth and turning him so that he faced her. Angrily, she raised her gaze to his, then hesitated as her blood turned ice-cold.
His eyes were distinctively glowing blue.
Automatically, one hand shifted towards one of her guns, but she didn’t draw it, instead shutting her own emotions down as she stared at him. “What the hell have they done to you, Clint?” The Russian whispered it quietly, her other hand keeping hold of his arm.
The last thing he expected was for Natasha to be at the carnival. But she had grabbed him and shoved him behind a booth. He was about to tell her to leave him to his fate when he noticed that she looked...scared. At least scared for Natasha. And the fact that her hand had moved towards one of her weapons...
“Doesn’t matter,” he said, his voice empty. He did his best to put on a brave face for Ariel and the others trapped here. But when he was alone... “The nightmares are gone and so is seeing the eyes everywhere.” He shook his head. “Forget me Tasha. I’m not worth it anymore.” He stared at her. “I feed on fears and misery now. I can’t be saved.”
She was silent for a moment as she stared at him, her own fear fading, and she recalled what Lois had said about breaking Dark’s influence. Finally, her hands dropped at her side, but her gaze never left his.
“You’re always worth it, Clint. Always. Do you want to stay here? Do you honestly think that this place is where you really belong?” Shaking her head, she stepped closer, raising her hands to cup his face. “Clint....if that’s the case, then you’re wrong. This place has changed you, twisted you. This isn’t you. This isn’t the man who forced his way into my heart until I had no choice but to fall in love with him.”
As she spoke Clint turned his head away from her. But then her hands were on his face and he was forced to look at her. “Maybe this is me,” he murmured. “What I want no longer matters though. My soul’s lost and there’s no getting it back.” He reached up and pulled her hands from his stubbled face.
“Just...leave...” he mumbled, his voice breaking. Tears threatening to fall, he took a step back from her. “Even if you take me from here they’ll come for me. I’ll never be safe. I’ll never be free.”
‘That isn’t true, Clint - “ she broke off as tears formed in her eyes. Keeping hold of his hands, she swallowed hard and shook her head. “If it is...God, Clint - then what’s the point of me? I can’t do this, this life, be this person, without you. Can’t you see that?” One hand let go of him and reached back to draw one of the guns. She then put it in his hands and moved his finger to the trigger while stepping in again, crowding him against the booth.
“I refuse to live in this life without you, Clint. There’s no reason to it - maybe if I’m dead, I’ll wake up back there, in our world, and we can try again, but if you won’t even fight for me, for us, for yourself, then...kill me. Because it’ll be a kindness to do it now. I can’t watch this happen.” She forced his hands up so that the gun was pressed against her heart. “If you don’t have a soul, Clint, do it. Pull the trigger.” It was a gamble, but one she was willing to take. For him.
Clint frowned when he felt the gun in his hands. He looked up at her, confusion in his eyes. He was trying to make sense of her words. He kept his finger outside of the trigger guard. He flipped the gun with ease and shoved it back at her. He wanted nothing more than to run and escape but she had him trapped against the game booth. And he didn’t have the heart to force her aside.
But her words suddenly hit him. “Did...you...love me?” he finally managed. He stared at her, clearly stunned and unsure of what to think or do. He didn’t think he was worth something like love. Yes, he cared greatly for Natasha but...was it love? Could it...be love?
“You’re the first person I’ve ever loved,” she replied in a broken whisper. Pressing the gun back into his hands, her head lowered and she closed her eyes, “I...I never thought I’d love anyone. I didn’t think I was capable of love. I didn’t want to be, with the things I’ve done, but...” Shaking her head, she lifted her head again, reopening her eyes to meet his. “When we saw that chyort* movie, I thought you’d know because I knew in an instant, the moment Coulson said your name. I knew - it was all over my face. I was amazed you and the entire world couldn’t see it.” She swallowed hard, keeping her eyes on his.
“I know I said love is for children, and I still believe that’s true. But, Clint...my God, when I’m with you? I am a child. And I love that. I love you. But I refuse to lose you. I won’t do it. So you might as well end me now, cleanly.”
Clint listened to her words, swallowing the lump in his throat when he listened to her admitting to loving him. In truth, he had seen it on the movie Natasha’s face. But he had figured that was just due to the actress playing his partner. The fact that she had admitted it was true? The tears slid past his guard. “Tasha...” he whispered, the gun falling from his nerveless hands.
He couldn’t help it, he sank to his knees, his head falling forward as he trembled, the stress from everything crashing down over him. The events with Loki in their world, the PTSD, arriving in a strange world, and now everything with Dark. All that had been too much but hearing that Natasha loved, him, that she wanted him in spite of all his flaws...
He had no idea how to react to that other than to break down.
Him reacting was better than him shutting down and walking away, so she didn’t hesitate, but dropped to her own knees in front of him. Taking his hands, she pulled them from his face and tugged them around herself, then shifted closer to slide her arms around him, cupping his head against her neck and resting her cheek against his hair. Natasha held him tightly and shut her eyes to keep from crying herself. He didn’t need her tears now.
“I’m here, Clint,” she whispered it against his head as she turned just a little to brush her lips across his hair. “I’m here.” And as long as she had things her way, she always would be there.
Feeling her move his arms, he clung to her, still trembling as he fought to stay strong. He had to stay strong. People were counting on him. They were always counting on him. He stayed that way for who knew how long, uncaring if they were found for the most part. Slowly he relaxed against her.
Finally, he pulled back some and looked at her, his eyes looking pleadingly at her. “I want to go home,” he whispered. “But the others here...I can’t just...Ariel and Allana and...I have to help them...” he murmured.
Her arms stayed strong around him as she continued to murmur softly that she loved him and that she would be there for him, in both English and Russian. She didn’t even try to draw back from him, not caring about the position, or if they were interrupted. Should anyone else approach and try to take him from her, they would die. It was that simple.
Natasha met his eyes after he pulled back and shook her head a little. “You will. We will, Clint. But being here? Won’t help anyone, you or them. The others are working out ways to get their loved ones here, to talk to them, work on freeing them. For tonight, though, you have to come home, and break out of this. We...I need you to, Clint. Please.”
Hearing what she said, he gave a nod. “Alright,” he agreed, his voice quiet. He felt broken and knew deep inside that Natasha was right. If he stayed, he wasn’t doing anyone any good. He’d been compromised again. He needed to level out. “Let’s go.” He wasn’t too concerned about getting his things. He had taken only old clothes, his circus outfit Natasha had made, and one of the bows he had made.
When he was finally composed, he rose to his feet and looked at her, wrapping his arms around himself. “We should leave now before Cresswell and the others come looking for me,” he said.
Natasha stood with him once he was ready, reaching out to pick up the fallen gun and replace it in her waistline again. Giving a small nod, she studied him for a moment, then stepped in again and pressed her lips to his. “Ya tebyA lyublyu**,” she murmured again that she loved him, then took her hand in his. “We’re going.” Turning, she began to head again for the exit.
**=I love you