Summary: *Spoilers for Age of Ultron* They've always only had each other. And now they have a team, a home and a family. Yeah, they definitely didn't see that one coming.
Warnings: Um, spoilers for Age of Ultron…. Except why are you reading fanfiction and not out watching the movie! Hmmm?
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Author's Note: Hello everybody! There were feelings. I knew there would be feelings but I didn't expected them to hit so hard. I know there have been like a dozen Pietro lives fanfics in the past few days. I know because I've read most of them. And they were all really good. And here is my contribution. Because no! I refuse to believe that he's dead. LOL
Because I Could Not Stop For Death...
"Guess you didn't see that coming?"
The words barely left his lips before his body was falling forward against his will. The pain was everywhere. He couldn't focus on any one spot. It all hurt. And oh god, Wanda. He could feel her fear, her panic and he couldn't do anything. He could only shudder as his body grew colder. The darkness forming at the corner of his eyes spread. It was an odd sensation, dying. He felt nothing and yet, felt everything. The pain. Wanda's pain. Clint's hands turning him gently. So gently. Steve touching his face and then his neck. Checking for a pulse.
He could see them now. Even through the growing blackness he could see them. He could see their worried faces. Their cries to hold on even as urgent hands lifted him up and carried him away. They should've just left him there. They were wasting precious time. Why did they even care? They shouldn't. This was his fault in the first place. All of it. His fault. He knows Wanda blames herself but she shouldn't. He was the oldest. He was supposed to take care of her and he failed. He failed her. He failed all of them.
The cold was everywhere now. He couldn't feel anything anymore. Not even Wanda. Oh Wanda. He hoped that she wouldn't lose her way without him. He hoped she found a way off this floating nightmare of a city. He hoped that Clint meant his words. That his sister could be an Avenger now. And that they would keep her safe. Because he couldn't anymore. The darkness was spreading faster. He was numb and cold even as he was laid to rest on the floor of the ship. The last thing he saw before everything went dark was the sky above him. From here it was beautiful. For the first time since he could remember, he saw beauty and hope for something more in that sky. For the first time since he could remember, he wanted something more than revenge or his twin. He wanted to be an Avenger. He wanted to live. Well damn.
He thought dying felt weird but that had nothing on death itself. Dying was bitter and cold. But so far death was warm and a little uncomfortable honestly. He was still surrounded by darkness and it felt like he was floating. There was no sense of time where he was. He simply existed. He imagined he was hovering in some bizarre limbo as some omnipotent higher power decided where he was meant to spend his eternal years. There was nothing in this space but him. Well, him and the unyielding darkness. It was everywhere around him. It surrounded him and sometimes overwhelmed him. But for the most part he was just there… floating.
Sometimes he heard voices around him. Sometimes there were these... flickers of red and occasionally yellow. He could feel Wanda in those moments. He was both happy and scared to even remotely sense his sister. Happy because he never wanted to be alone... be without her. But scared because he wanted her to live. He didn't want her to follow him into this abyss. This never-ending darkness.
He didn't know how much time passed since he died and his arrival in this abyss. He just knew that one moment he was wondering just how long this eternal judgment thing was supposed to take and the next he was suddenly aware of soft sheets against still tender skin. He was no longer floating. Instead he was lying on what appeared to be a bed. There were no voices around him. just the familiar sounds of Wanda's soft breathing echoed by the less familiar quiet snoring of another person at the foot of his bed. He attempted to open his eyes to see who was there with them but the mere thought of the effort that would take exhausted him. Instead he shifted towards where he knew Wanda was and gave into the darkness once again.
The next time he surfaced from the darkness, he was able to pick up on more from his surroundings. There was a steady beeping sound coming from somewhere beside him. Also somewhere near him, he could feel Wanda. Not through the latent connection that allowed them to know where the other was at all times. He was too exhausted to try and sense her that way. No, he knew she was there from the close to nineteen years that they spent with only one another as a constant companion. She was close. Close enough that he could smell the strawberry shampoo she loved when they were younger. That was a luxury they couldn't afford in the years following their parents' death. So the fact that he could smell it now, meant they were somewhere safe. That was evidenced by the fact that she started humming softly.
"Sleep, brother," she whispered. He felt her fingers sweep through his hair. Their connection thrumming with each gentle touch. "We are safe." Pietro gave an answering hum of his own and allowed the darkness to swallow him once more.
He woke up soon after that. He wasn't sure how he knew it was the same day but he did. He felt Wanda's hair tickle his cheek and knew that she had fallen asleep with her head beside his. He felt his mouth twitch somewhat. Though it faltered as soon as he registered the other presence in the room. It was the same one he felt the first time he woke up. It was unfamiliar and yet, he felt comfortable. He felt… safe.
"You awake yet, kid?"
Pietro struggled to open his eyes. It felt like anvils were weighing them down. It took a lot of effort but he managed to crack one eye open to take in the archer sitting in an armchair with his feet propped up on the edge of his bed. The man looked slightly rumpled like he had been sitting in that chair for days. He briefly brushed against Wanda's hand and he found that was exactly what happened. Clint Barton, Hawkeye, had spent the past four days and nights camped out in that very armchair waiting for him to recover. Pietro really did not know how to respond to that. So he did what he always did. He deflected.
"You look like crap, old man."
Clint narrowed his eyes as expected but there was a pull to his lips that left Pietro confused. Clint was supposed to rise to the bait. They would bicker and Clint would leave in exasperation. He was not supposed to be sitting there looking like Pietro just killed a beloved family pet or broke his mother's favorite vase.
"I'm sorry." Pietro's brow furrowed as he stared at Clint. The older man shifted. "For joking about shooting you. I'm sorry."
"You're actually apologizing for joking about killing me when I actually tried to kill you?" Pietro asked, blinking. "You sure you don't need a doctor checking you out?"
Clint rolled his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. "The point that I was trying to make, kid, is that I'm sorry. I didn't really want to shoot you. I didn't want you to be shot. And I definitely didn't want you to die for me."
"Not that I'm complaining or anything but how am I still alive?"
"How much did Strucker explain to you about your metabolism and how it works?"
Pietro shrugged, staring blankly at the man. There wasn't exactly a tutorial on their powers once they'd developed. Wanda had a somewhat limited control over her abilities. Pietro's was easier but he still had occasional side effects that he hadn't been able to address. He managed to say this aloud.
"Helen figured that would be the case." At his no doubt blank look of confusion, Clint smirked and nodded. "Sorry, Dr. Cho. You met her in Seoul. She has been looking after you since we got back. She believes that it was a combination of your metabolism and whatever connection exists between you and Wanda. Neither one could bring you back on their own. But together, they helped keep you stable until we were able to get you back here where Dr. Cho was able to help your metabolism heal you."
Pietro looked down at his chest. For a brief moment, he could feel the bullets piercing his skin. But then it was gone. He lifted the arm not trapped by Wanda's sleeping form to brush against the healed skin. It was almost like new.
"How long has it been since…?"
Clint sighed. "It's been about two weeks. You were in the cradle for a few days. It took nearly a day to get you stable. And then Helen still needed more time to fully heal the bullet wounds. Your heart kept stopping. Actually we realized that it was beating so fast, sensors weren't picking it up. So Tony made a machine that was capable of picking up your heart rate. You've been in this room for the past four days."
"So have you," Pietro pointed out.
"I was worried about you," Clint admitted. "I didn't know how old you were before we went out there. I called you kid because you look young. I didn't know that you're actually kids."
"We're nearly nineteen. We are adults," Pietro felt the need to counter. The look on Clint's face showed just how unimpressed he was with that one. He shrugged internally. It was a bit of a stretch. Still, they might be teenagers but they had seen enough to age anyone. "What is your point, Agent Barton? I am old enough to make my own choices. I chose to attack you all on the battlefield in Sokovia that day. I chose to work with Ultron. I chose to leave Ultron just as I chose work with the Avengers to stop him. I chose to save your life. Those were my choices."
"I get that. I just wish that you didn't have to make them."
For that, Pietro had no response. Because hell, wasn't that exactly what he wished too?
"That's not why I stayed by your side for four days though," Clint said, powering through the silence created by his last statement. Pietro felt his brows furrow. "Dr. Cho wants you to get some rest to allow your body a chance to really heal. With all the chaos, construction of new living quarters and well Tony going on with the Tower right now, she feels like it might be best for you to do that elsewhere once you're released from the medical ward."
He bit his lip. The man was aware that they had nowhere to go, right? He doubted they would be welcomed back in Sokovia… what was left of it at any rate. They had no family they could crash with while he was healing. They had to way to earn money to try and find their own housing. Still they had survived with less before and they would find away again.
"That's why I think it's a good idea for you stay with us on the farm."
Pietro blinked. There was an entire part of this conversation that he clearly missed. Did he seriously just offer them a room at his home? And what, he lived on a farm? And who was us? Did he have a family? That would explain the strangely paternal vibe he gave off when it came specifically to the twins.
"Who is us? And what do you mean… a farm?"
"I mean I live on a farm," Clint retorted, laughing at the quiet confusion on the speedster's face. "I live there with my wife, Laura, and our son, Cooper, and daughter, Lila. We have another baby on the way too. His name is Nathanial. Nathanial Pietro Barton."
Pietro's jaw dropped. "You named him after me?!"
"I named him after the brave, stupid kid that died to save his old man's life. So what do you say?"
"I, uh, what did Wanda… did you talk to her?"
"Of course," Clint answered. "She agreed. She is coming with us, of course. She's not staying more than a few weeks. She's a little eager to start training."
"She did step out of those doors. As far as we're concerned, she is an Avenger."
Pietro didn't bother to hide his smile. His dying wish was granted. Wanda was an Avenger. She found a team and a place where she belonged. Of course, he didn't actually stay dead so that brought up the awkward question of what happened to him while Wanda was off saving the world.
"So Wanda will be training and I will be…?"
"Healing. Helen was quite clear that it's going to be awhile before you're suiting up, kid. Your body took a serious hit. It's going to be awhile before you're back to normal. Even longer before your field ready. But we'll get you there."
"Wait," Pietro held up his hand, wincing as it pulled at the newly formed flesh. "Field ready? Am I, are you saying that I'm…. an Avenger too?"
"Aren't you?" Clint countered.
"I didn't get the fancy speech about walking out of doors," Pietro joked weakly. Clint patted him on the leg. Pietro wasn't used to a lot of physical affection but the gesture was equal parts comforting and soothing. Clint smiled.
"The way we see it is, you two are a package deal. We get one, we get the other. Am I wrong?" Pietro snorted. "Yeah, I didn't think so. So what do you think? You think you could stand living on a farm for a bit?"
Pietro's breath caught in his throat. This was definitely not what he was expecting when he woke up. For starters, he wasn't expecting to wake up period. But he had woken up and now the little orphan twins were being offered a home, a family and a team. It was a lot to take in. Clint must have guessed that as he tapped him on the leg once more.
"Look get some rest. You still look like crap. We can talk about everything else in the morning."
"Yeah," Pietro murmured, nodding his head slowly. He started to close his eyes when he realized that Clint wasn't moving. "You going to stay there all night?"
"Yup," Clint grinned. "Your sister wouldn't sleep until she knew you were okay. She's been awake for the past five days straight. The only way I could convince her to finally get some sleep was to promise to stay here and keep watch. That's what I'm going to do."
Pietro let out a breath, settling back against the pillows the best he could. Wanda shifted somewhat, allowing him to shift into a more comfortable position. And then she was back with her head resting on the pillow beside his and her hand wrapped around his. He heard Clint settle back in his chair. It was now that Pietro noticed the chair was perfectly positioned so that anything coming through that door would have to go through Clint first. And he had been sitting there for four days.
"Thanks, old man," he said before pausing. "Thank you, Clint."
Clint snickered. "Don't go getting all touchy feeling with me, kid. It's awkward. But you're welcome. Trust me, you're going to want to get some sleep. Now that you're awake, I don't think I'm going to be able to keep the rest of the team out of here."
Pietro didn't reply. Instead he gave into the quiet call of sleep. He didn't know how long he lay there, soaking in the comfort of Wanda beside him and Clint guarding them when the door to his room opened. He tensed somewhat and was amazed when he felt Clint's hand on his ankle, gentle yet firm. Reminding him that he was safe. Letting him know that the newcomer was not a threat. So he relaxed and feigning sleep in the process.
"I heard he woke up today," the person spoke. It was a woman's voice.
"Yeah, he woke up for a little while before with Wanda. Then about an hour ago, we had a nice talk."
"Did you ask him about coming to live with us?"
"I did," Clint replied to the woman that was clearly his wife. "I think he's a little confused about it but I'm pretty sure he's going to agree."
A silence settled over the couple. Pietro could tell it was a familiar one between two people who understood one another through and through. It was strangely comforting. He felt himself drifting when Laura spoke again.
"What are you thinking about, Clint?"
"They're so young," he whispered. "They're so young and they've experienced so much. Too much."
"You're remembering what it was like," Laura sighed. "But fortunately, they've got something that wedidn't have at their age."
"Oh, yeah? What's that?"
"Us," she laughed. "They have us and the rest of the Avengers."
"You've only met Wanda. How do you even know you're going to like Pietro?"
"Because Wanda loves him and you care about him," Laura replied as if it were really that simple. "And because I know what happens to kids like them. We have a chance to fix that and that's what we're going to do."
"Have I ever told you how lucky I am to have you in my life?"
"A few times, but it never hurts to hear it again."
"They're going to love you," Clint promised. "I know Wanda already does. And Pietro… well, he's on his way. Aren't you, kid?"
Pietro coughed, surprised at being caught. He heard Clint and Laura both laugh quietly. There was some more rustling and soon he felt a gentle touch on his shoulder and then two lips brushing against his forehead. The sheet covering his bare chest was hitched up slightly.
"We'll talk in the morning. But it was nice meeting you, Pietro."
"You too," he whispered as she pulled away. He opened his eyes to find her drifting to Wanda's side. She draped a blanket over her shoulders before giving her a kiss on the forehead as well. She smiled seeing Pietro's eyes open. She gave him a wave before kissing her husband goodnight and waltzing out the room.
"You okay, Pietro? You need anything?"
"Yes," he replied. "I mean I don't need anything but yes… I would like to live with you and your family."
"Then welcome to the Barton clan, kid. Now go to sleep!"
Pietro snickered but closed his eyes to do just that. He felt something inside his chest loosen. A sense of peace he hadn't felt in years settled over him. For the first time in a long time, he really felt like he was somewhere he belonged. He knew it wasn't going to be perfect and that he was going to make mistakes but he had a feeling these people were going to patient and understanding. A smile lingered on his lips as he fell asleep.
Yeah, he definitely did not see that coming.
The end. Hope someone liked it!