Natasha Romanov looked down the debris-littered street, blowing a scarlet curl out of her eyes as she watched another wave of alien fighters move down the block towards them.

To her right, Captain America stood on top of a car, sizing up the alien speeders. To her left, Hulk smashed up the remains of a speeder that he had pulled out of the sky. Hawkeye dropped silently off a building to stand next to her.

"We got this one?" He asked. Natasha nodded while the Hulk let out a roar that rattled the wreckage around them.

"Let's do this thing." The Captain growled, hurling his shield at the forerunner of the alien speeders. It exploded in a shower of sparks and crashed to the pavement.

A volley of spears came raining towards the team and Natasha and Hawkeye down under a ruined pickup to escape, while Hulk batted the spears away and Captain America shielded himself effortlessly.

"Watch the ribs..." Natasha hissed at Haweye, whose bow was currently jammed into her side.

"Sorry" He muttered, sliding himself back out from under the car and pulling her along behind him. A humming noise filled the air as several aliens doubled back to pass over once again. Natasha and Hawkeye scattered, running down the avenue at full tilt. Nat heard the spears rattling on the pavement behind her.

Clint and Natasha slid under an overhanging pile of cars just as the first energy bombs started falling, peppering the street. Natasha reached for her ammo case that usually rested on her left thigh, but her hands found nothing.

"Shit..." She gasped. Clint look sharply back at her.

"My ammo belt!" Nat yelled at him over the noise of the explosions. The speeders passed over once more, and Natasha took the opportunity to run back along the street, eyes scanning for her belt. Without it, she was finished.

"Natasha, no!" Clint yelled after her, but she ignored him. An energy bolt zapped the ground right in front of her, causing the redhead to divert her course. She spied the belt laying further down the street just as the bulk of the fighters returned.

Up ahead, Captain America diverted another energy bolt on his shield. He was yelling something at her, but she couldn't hear him.

Natasha reached the belt and grabbed it just as a bolt hit the ground where her hand had been a second before. She pulled a mag out of the belt and shoved it into her pistol as she ran back to cover, then hooked the belt around her neck. It would do for now.

She was almost back to Clint when a fighter dropped right in her path, and alien disembarking and brandishing his spear. The alien took an allmighty leap and was on top of her before she could move, knocking her to the pavement and pinning her down.

Natasha wiggled, trying to get an arm or a leg free to attack the alien with, but to no avail. The Captain and Hawkeye yelled, but the roaring of the alien drowned out their words. Fear overran her system.

More aliens dropped down around her, growling at each other in their course language. Hawkeye shot one of them through the head, and somewhere down the block, Hulk roared. The aliens ignored them and closed in, snapping at her face. She closed her eyes.

Natasha screamed as she felt something begin to cut at her face, the harsh sound echoing around the street.

"BASTARDS!" Clint yelled, leaping at the first alien he could reach. Captain America and Hulk followed suit, quickly breaking the alien's ranks. HUlk grabbed the being holding Natasha down and threw him a half mile down the avenue. If it survived, it had some serious road rash.

"I got you, you're okay." Clint said, setting down his bow and helping Natasha sit up. She was bleeding heavily from several cuts and refused to open her eyes.

"Miss Romanov?" Captain America asked, worry for his new teammate obvious on his face. Hulk made a sad sound in the back of his throat.

"I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay..." Natasha repeated over and over, forcing her eyes open. She saw her teammates around her, worried expressions on all their faces. A humming noise from the skies above indicated that there were more ships inbound.

"Sorry to do this to ya Nat, but you have about a minute to get back in the game." Hawkeye growled. Natasha shook her head to rid herself of the ringing in her ears and stood up, watching as another volley swept down the avenue.

Clint studied the mass for a moment, then raised an eyebrow.

"Well, his allmightyness decided to join the party." He said. The other Avengers looked, spying a familiar pointed golden headdress approaching. Loki.

"Let's give him a fight then." Natasha said, picking up her pistol and aiming. The others followed suit.

Natasha shot down Loki's ride, sending the god tumbling to the asphalt. The Norseman took it in stride, aiming his scepter at them and firing a bolt of energy. Captain jumped in front, deflecting it back. Loki dodged easily.

"Your tricks will fail as they always have." Loki drawled, striding up to the group. The Avengers lowered their weapons momentarily.

"You see, I find that everything has its weakness... All I have to do..." Loki lunged forwards and grabbed Natasha, pinning her to his chest. "...Is find it" Hawkeye had his bow raised to point between Loki's eyes before the god finished talking.

"My, my. It would seem I found the right point." Loki smirked. Hulk growled.

"Put her down, Loki" Captain America said, raising his shield.

"Or what?" Loki asked. "You can't kill me! But her on the other hand... She is quite fragile." His smirk widened as he tightened his grip on the redhead, causing her to choke and squirm.

"What do you want from us?" Hawkeye asked, not lowering his bow.

"Well- oof!" Loki was cut off by Natasha kicking backwards and twisting out of his grip. She ran to stand by the Captain, who raised a hand to help steady her.

"So be it." Loki growled as he knelt on the pavement. He picked up his staff and swept it in a wide arc over his head. An alien speeder swept down and picked him up.

"A gift for you." He said, nodding to the alien driver. The speeder took off, taking the norse god with it.

"That's it?" Captain America asked.

"Hmpfh. That'll show-" Natasha was cut off by a whistling sound, and suddenly was knocked to the pavement, and spear shaft protruding from her chest.

Hawkeye looked sharply back, paling as he saw the blood. He threw his bow to the ground, kneeling by his fallen comrade.

"No..." He murmured, taking her hand.

"Ow" Natasha said softly, a tickle of blood running down the side of her cheek.

"Hold still. TONY! Nat is down! We need you here now!" The Captain yelled into his comm.

"On it!" Tony yelled back.

"Hold on, red." Clint murmured, stroking Nat's red curls. "It'll only be a moment."

"Red... heh. Reckon I got that red out of my-AH! ledger... now... Tell Fury... it was fun." Natasha gasped as she convulsed in pain.

"We will." The Captain replied comberly.

"Good." She gasped, her eyes focusing on a faraway point in the sky.

"NO!" Clint yelled, shaking her as gently as possible. "STAY WITH ME! NAT!" Natasha's head rolled loosely to the side, her blue eyes blank.

Tony landed just then, his mask sliding up. His expression was unreadable as he saw Hawkeye yelling over Natasha's lifeless body.

"I'm sorry." He said. The Captain looked at the ground, kicking at a piece of shrapnel in anger. The Hulk roared.

"What do we do now?" Tony asked after a moment. The sound of alien fighters filled the air again.

"Who cares." Hawkeye said bitterly, standing up and kicking the ground.

"We have to keep fighting." The Captain replied, looking at his boots. The Hulk growled.

"Let's go, then. The portal needs closing." Tony said, shaking his head.


"STOP!" Captain America ordered. Hawkeye uncurled his fist, growling.

"Tony is right. We will bury her when we have the chance, but for now we need to fight. The world isn't getting saved with us down here." He continued. For once, Hulk agreed, nodding his shaggy green head.

"Clint." Captain said, taking the other man by the shoulder. "There will be time to grieve."

Hawkeye looked away, biting his lip in obvious anguish. He shrugged the Captain's gloved hand off his shoulder, turned and picked up his bow.

"Let's do this."