A/N: This idea just popped into my head and demanded to be written. There have been quite a few alerts placed on both my stories Burn and Romanticizing The God Of Mischief. Since they are one-shots, however, I won't be updating those. Instead, I've decided to try my hand at writing a multi-chapter story featuring the best of both worlds: Loki/Natasha and Clint/Natasha. It's been forever since I have written a multi-chapter story, so I hope it works out well. This story is dedicated to everyone who prompted me to write more, with a special shout-out to BlackParadeIsDead483.
Chapter 1: Fear
She stalked down the darkened hall, her heart pounding so loudly she fancied she could hear the pulse of it in her ears. Her guns were drawn; her footsteps soft; her breath caught in her throat. The face-off with the Hulk had left her terrified. She had seen her death in his rage-fueled eyes. Now, hearing that Clint was aboard the Helicarrier had strained her further. A cold prickle of fear fanned up her spine. She was a seasoned killer and assassin. There was very little that frightened her, so she was disturbed by the fear she felt now. It felt queer. Still, she had never experienced a threat quite like this.
Loki. Her gut twisted in rage whenever she thought of what he had done. Anyone who showed up and acted like they had the right to conquer Earth and enslave mankind was going to be on her shit list, but Loki had gone one step further and put Clint under some kind of spell. He had bewitched Doctor Selvig too. She didn't know the doctor very well, having only met him once or twice, but he had appeared to be a good man. Not only that, but Loki had destroyed S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters and killed a great many people. Eighty she'd told Thor.
She found it bewildering that Thor claimed kinship to Loki. Thor was trying to aid them in stopping Loki's plan. Loki was barbaric, a monster. She had called him that herself when she had sought him out. She thought she had one-upped him. She had been foolish to think that she had outsmarted Loki. She loathed him, but she had to admire his skill at deception, no matter how grudging that admiration may be. She squeezed the handles of her guns until her skin ached. The ache was welcome. It cleared her head and brought her back to the here and now. Everything was silent. Fear rose up and enveloped her. She had to stop and fight it down. She was fierce, and a fighter. She never let her worries get the best of her.
The silence bothered her. With everything going on the place should have been in total chaos. Still, everything had been silent when she had been hiding from the Hulk. That had been one of the most terrifying things she had, and most likely would, ever experience. That something so big could be so quiet was both incredible and blood chilling. She turned, half expecting to see the beast come flying at her from the dark. Only the still darkness greeted her. She allowed herself to breath out as inaudibly as she could. Thor had taken the Hulk off her hands, leaving her to find Clint.
Clint. Her partner. She had told Loki she didn't love him. "Love is for children," she'd said. She certainly would never have told him any differently. At times she wondered if perhaps she wasn't being entirely honest with herself. She had been raised so efficiently that feelings like love were an almost foreign enigma. Almost. She didn't like to dwell on thoughts along that line. She hated feeling puzzled by feelings. They got in the way of her job. She was all about her job. It was everything she knew. She disliked anything that complicated it. Clint didn't. The two of them worked well together. She felt comfortable with him. It was that comfort that made her question her feelings… 'No!' she thought furiously. 'Don't go there, Natasha!' She had to remain focused on the task at hand. Clint could slip through her grasp if she didn't tread carefully.
She made sure she was silent as she crept through the halls. There was no telling where an enemy was waiting to ambush her, wishing for her death. 'I won't touch Barton, not until I make him kill you! Slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear! And when he wakes, he'll have just enough time to see the work he's done, and when he screams, I'll break his skull!' Loki's hateful words rang through her mind. She jammed the butt of one of her guns against her forehead, desperately trying to quell them. They were such poisonous words. She wouldn't let them come to pass. That toughened her resolve. If Loki wanted to kill her, she was going to make it as difficult for him as possible.
She heard soft footfall ahead and stiffened. Years of training kicked in, and she hugged the walls as she approached, her guns gripped tightly in her slightly trembling hands. With a pang she recognized Clint. Though it was dark, she could identify Clint's lean, yet muscular stature. He wasn't all that taller than her. Short for a man in his profession, yet she'd never been one to judge a man on his height. He was heading for the cell where Loki was being held.
She tried to keep her breathing calm, but it sounded so loud and harsh to her ears. Her footsteps sounded sharp and heavy. Her heart thumped in her chest, near painfully. Her senses sharpened, and she kept her eyes trained on Clint. She kept her body tense, carefully awaiting any slight sign that Clint acknowledged her presence. She didn't have long to wait. His stance dropped, and his body stiffened. He turned so fast, almost supernaturally fast, and fired an arrow at her. A slower person would be sagging to the floor now, Clint's arrow buried in their flesh. Luckily, the years of being an assassin had given her the swiftest of reflexes.
She dived to the side in a neat roll, managing to keep her guns firmly in hand. Her fingers slid off the triggers. It was a near miraculous feat that she could do such a thing and not fatally harm herself. She had been the most apt pupil. She wasn't a member of the Avengers for nothing. She was forced to dive away again as Clint let another arrow fly. It was unfortunate that Clint was as quick and fluid in his motions as she. She kicked off from the ground and barreled into him. He was ready for her. She raised her guns, about the smash the butts of them onto Clint's temples, but Clint hoisted his bow and effectively shielded his face. The guns cracked down against it. Clint twisted violently, and the guns were wrenched from her grasp. He drove the bow up into her face, forcing her off him. She scrambled away, too slowly. Clint kicked her in the ribs, knocking her breath from her lungs. While she lay there momentarily stunned, Clint pounced on her.
His hands wrapped around her slender long neck, and a bubble of panic burst within her. She couldn't fight like that. She had to clear her head. She rocked on her back and used the momentum to push herself up. She smashed the bridge of Clint's nose with her forehead. He grunted in pain and rolled off her. Her throat ached, and she panted. They both regained their footing, standing off against one another. Blood poured down Clint's face.
Clint's eyes! They had always fascinated her. She had never been able to lock down their color. Sometimes they looked blue. Other times they looked green. Now they were blue, but not a natural blue. Clint's eyes were an eerie, almost glowing blue. 'It must be a sign of Loki's spell,' she thought. Rage blossomed in her, fanning through her with a roar like a blazing fire. "Clint." She wouldn't beg or plead. She wasn't that kind of woman. It hurt to see Clint like this, but she refused to show it. She hoped her voice would get though to him. Surely there was still a part of Clint in there that would recognize her.
He smiled widely. His smile was crazy, a mirror of Loki's. He didn't speak, but that smile promised awful things for her. Loki's words ran through her mind again. 'No! I won't let that happen.' She attacked. Clint's hand snaked back to his quiver still on his back to string yet another arrow, but Natasha beat him to it. She punched him with one hand, while her other swiped the bow from his hands. It clattered to the dark floor to lie amongst her guns. He stuck his leg out, forcing her backwards to trip over it. He snatched an arrow and held it like he was planning to stab her with it. When he threw himself forward, she raised her legs and managed to toss him over behind her.
He was panting just as hard as she was now. She could hear him rasping in the shadows. She lunged to the ground and scooped up her guns, just as Clint came rushing out of the dark, murder in his eyes. He slammed her against the wall. She felt the sharp bite of his fingernails against her upper arms. He grabbed her hands, twisting her delicate wrists. She felt the guns slide from her hands again, and cursed inwardly. She made a valiant effort to knee him in the crotch, but missed. It hardly mattered, as Clint reared back and Natasha took the opportunity to cup both her hands and smack them, hard, over his ears. Clint screamed then in a primal feral rage. Working fast, she drew back her fist and drove it into his sternum. When he doubled over, she swiveled on her foot and kicked him. She may have been a relatively short woman, but she could kick like a horse.
Clint went down heavily. She snatched up her guns and held them at him. Clint tried to struggle to his feet, but Natasha brought the butt of one gun down on his temple. It cracked on contact and she couldn't help but wince. Clint sprawled on his back with a guttural groan. He blinked up at her blearily. "Natasha?"
His eyes were still misted by Loki's enchantment. 'Sorry, Clint.' It pained her to do such a thing, but it needed to be done. She hit him with all her strength, knocking him into unconsciousness. She collapsed into a heap on the floor. She could taste the sharp metallic tang of blood upon her tongue. She returned her guns to their holsters and radioed in Clint's position. Her hands trembled uncontrollably.
A sudden roar made the floor tremble, and she rocketed to her feet. It came from… 'Oh, no! Loki.' She hated leaving Clint there alone in the dark, but if Loki was being freed she had to stop it. She would be glad to stop him, preferably with a bullet between the eyes. She flew toward the room, her hands on her holsters. She dropped into a perfect tuck and roll to avoid anyone in the room who would do her harm. She made a smaller target that way. She straightened up, her hands already opening her holsters to draw out the guns, when she saw the scene before her. Her hands dropped away, rigid from utter shock.
Thor was locked inside the cell. The glass cracked from where he had clearly used his hammer to try and shatter it. The smoking heap near the control panel must have been Loki. She hoped he was dead, or at least dying, but that would be far too easy. Fate had never really been in her court. Agent Coulson… oh. She crawled over to him, taking in his pale clammy skin, and the deep bloody gash on his chest. She pressed her quaking hands over it in a futile attempt to stop the blood flow.
"Agent Coulson, look at me," she commanded. His breathing was thin and shallow. She cupped a hand to his face. "Phil!"
His eyes fluttered open. "Oh, Agent Romanoff." A trickle of blood crept from the corner of his mouth and ran down his skin.
"I'm going to get you out of here," she promised him. She raised her walkie-talkie to her mouth to call for help, but a warning yell from Thor, and a more quiet, strained one from Agent Coulson, made her jump away warily.
Loki was standing in front of her, his mouth stretched wide in amusement. Clint's grin hadn't been like Loki's at all, she'd been wrong with that assessment. Loki's was so much screwier. It was warped, a twisted Cheshire cat smirk. His eyes burned with a feverish pitch. He looked down at Coulson gleefully. She could feel her face contort in fury. He held the scepter in his hands. One of the hexed goons behind him, with their guns aimed at her, must have procured it for him. Loki approached her carefully and deliberately. The end of the scepter glowed brighter as he draw nearer.
Natasha sprang into motion. She drew her guns rapidly and shot the assailants behind Loki. She didn't kill them, just shot them in the hand so they would drop their weapons. Their screams mingled together in a hair-raising symphony. She raised her guns to Loki's face when something heavy, and oh so very hard, struck her from behind. She fell forward toward Loki… fell through him. Loki flickered and vanished as she fell through him. Sprawled on the floor, she turned around and saw Loki grinning down at her. "W… what?" she stuttered.
Loki chuckled and spread his arms wide. Quicker than the bat of an eye, many replicas of Loki surrounded her. They laughed at her mockingly, laughing at the stunned expression on her face. Of course, she had seen his little trick in Germany. Still, there was a difference between seeing it from a helicopter and seeing it right before her. It was very disconcerting. All the replicas clutched scepters in their hands.
'Damn it,' she thought grimly. Being surrounded by enemies was bad enough when she was on her own, being surrounded by an enemy like Loki was wholly undesirable. Her guns lay on the ground so very close, but she was wary about reaching for them. One of the Loki's moved slightly, and her instincts kicked into high gear. She snatched up her guns and spun around. Which Loki was the right one? They were all moving around, circling her like a wolf pack circles an elk.
She kept watch for any sign of the real Loki. She lunged to the left suddenly, swinging her gun into the face of one Loki. It vanished. She brought her elbow up and smacked it into the chest of the next nearest one. It connected solidly. The holograms disappeared, and Loki stumbled back. She kept at it, driving him back. She used the muzzle of her gun to strike him across the nose. Loki lashed out with his scepter. She felt it scratch across her soft cheek. He hooked it down and swept her off her feet before she could anticipate his move. She hit the ground so hard the breath was knocked from her again. Her guns clattered to the floor beside her. He stepped on her chest, pining her down. Natasha squirmed and cursed at him, but she couldn't get free.
Loki was tall, but he wasn't particularly muscular. Not that it mattered. He was still stronger, being a god of sorts. He knelt down upon her chest and a ripple of pain coursed through her. He was breathing hard, and she took joy in the fact she had managed to wound him. Blood trickled from his mouth and nose. She tried, in vain, to head butt him. He laughed at her fruitless attempt.
"You mortals fight so hard against the inevitable," he told her, examining her closely. He lowered the scepter down to her chest. Her blue-green eyes widened in alarm. No matter how fiercely she thrashed about, she couldn't throw him off. 'So easy,' her thoughts were miserable. 'I made it so easy for him.' She was emotionally and physically drained from her fight with Clint, and seeing Phil Coulson dying only added to her woe. The fight drained out of her.
"Brother, no!" she heard Thor shout. She thought she heard Coulson mumble something too, but she couldn't be sure.
Natasha closed her eyes. The last thought she had that was completely hers was of Clint.
When the scepter touched the flesh above her heart, her eyes snapped open and she gasped. Such knowledge! She could see things she never had before. She knew things she never had before. There was still a little part of her left, screaming for control. It was smothered deep down. Loki had control now. Loki: her master. He grasped her chin, looking deep into her eyes. He smiled, and she felt her own lips tug upwards likewise. She got to her feet and followed Loki closely, putting her guns back where they belonged. She watched Loki stand before the control panel. When he pressed the button and Thor vanished into the openness below, a cold cruel grin snaked across her plump lips.
More followers were joining them now, most bearing signs of fighting. Loki turned to them all, a proud smile on his thin lips. "Come," he commanded. Natasha followed, ignoring the sane part of her trying to regain control. She was Loki's now, and she would serve him loyally. She knew where they were going, and she laughed.