Author's Note: None of these characters are mine and this is just for fun.
In my story Regrets, Natasha mentions an incident in Clint's past. I have had a couple of people ask me if I would write about that, so I decided to oblige them. Obviously then, this tale will be pre-Avengers. I hope you enjoy.
Coulson contacted Natasha on the secure phone. "Extraction will be in fifteen minutes."
"Did you find Hawkeye?" When Coulson did not reply, her heart began beating heavy, fearful thuds. "Tell me, Coulson."
"They have him," he admitted.
"They picked him up three days ago. He's probably dead. Or broken." Coulson paused. "I'm sorry, Natasha, but he could have told them your location. We can't lose both of you. That's why the immediate extraction."
"What about Barton? Who's going after him?"
"No one. He's been disavowed."
"Where is he?" Romanoff demanded.
"You're not going for him."
"Coulson, you know as well as I that sometimes we need to make our own call. Some orders have to be disobeyed. Even Fury knows that."
After a long pause, Coulson said, "I'm sending you the information on where we believe Barton was held. Be careful. You might not like what you find."
Romanoff hung up. She knew she wasn't supposed to care, to feel. All her life she told herself not to care. It hurt too much. But that was before Clint. She didn't mind hurting for him. Natasha pushed the pain and worry aside. She had a job to do. She had to get Barton. She refused to believe he was dead and she would not abandon him.
Natasha quickly gathered what gear she thought she would need. She had to hurry to be gone before SHIELD arrived. Looking up and down the dusty street told her nothing was amiss. At least no more than usual in an anarchy of feuding warlords. Romanoff tossed her gear in the cab of the first Toyota Hilux she saw. The trucks were damn near indestructible and she suspected she would need that before this was over. Seconds later, the truck was hotwired and bouncing deeper into the desert. Natasha was happy to notice that luck was with her in a small way. The Hilux had a full tank of petrol and an extra jerrycan in the bed. She suspected she would need those as well.
Author's Note: The Toyota Hilux is a personal joke from back when I did work in interesting corners of the world. I was in a place where not a day (often not an hour) went by when I didn't see a group of Kalashnikov-wielding men riding around in a truck. The truck was always a Hilux, and they really did seem indestructible. My co-worker Declan and I certainly put ours through Hell. If Declan (for whatever odd reason) is reading this, skål to you, my friend, and the Hilux that saved our asses.
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