A/N: My friend has always loved the Clint/Natasha pairing and I told here I'd write a fanfiction for her...I'm not quite sure if this is what she had in mind.
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters and don't own Skillet's marvelous song, Monster.
I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster
Natasha wasn't quite sure what had caused the loud crash in the kitchen down the hall, but she didn't question it as she sprinted out the door of her bedroom. She had been rather on edge since Loki's attack, even though she knew Thor had taken the man back to Asgard and he wouldn't be doing any harm on Earth unless he wanted to die a most painful death. Natasha still was a bit anxious, casting worried glances over at her partner, Clint who, the last time the female assassin had checked, was currently in the kitchen where the crash had originated. The woman burst into the room, skidding across the tile and stopping herself on the granite countertops. She did a quick 360 sweep of the room and put a hand to her forehead when she discovered that the alarming noise that the woman had heard had only been Clint and Tony, drunk off their rockers, wrestling. Their glasses of vodka teetered precariously on the edge of the bar top and the two stools the men had been sitting at were tipped over on the floor.
"What are you boys doing?" Natasha asked, suppressing a chuckle as she placed her hands on her hips. Clint looked up, having pinning Stark to the floor, and grinned stupidly up at her.
"Nothin', Tasha, absolutely nothin'." Next thing the archer knew, he was being flipped over and pressed to the floor by Tony.
"We're havin' ourselves a competition." This time, Stark grinned dopily before he was pulled down again by Clint and the two were rolling across the floor. Natasha stepped over the tangle of limbs and grabbed the drinks off of the counter and placed them safely away from the tussle. The redhead then perched on the kitchen island and watched with an amused smirk as drunken insults, taunts, and curses were tossed back and forth before Clint was pinned once again, trapped between the pantry and the refrigerator.
"Gotcha now, Legolas!" Stark chirped in a sing-song voice as he playfully slapped Barton's left cheek. Natasha peered over Stark's shoulder and could see that her friend was defeated—he was exhausted and too drunk to fight on, though she could tell he wanted to. He gave a weak struggle before going limp and sticking out his lower lip in a comical pout.
"Damn it," the archer muttered. Tony laughed a bit too loud before stepping away from Clint and offering him a hand up. The man accepted it, but both men were far too drunk to stand and once again ended up on the tile, laughing hysterically. Natasha blinked at them before sighing and turning to the island where she had set their drinks. She handed the cups down to them, along with a bottle of alcohol, patted their heads, and left. Might as well let the men drink.
"Taaashaaaaa," Clint sang, his head hanging out of the kitchen doorway. "Oh Taaaashaaaaa!" The man took a long drink from his glass, not noticing that half of it splashed onto his shirt. He was about to step out into the hall when a head of red hair appeared in the doorway down the hall. Clint waved lazily and grinned.
"Oh for God's sake, Clint," Natasha groaned as she stepped into the hall and approached the kitchen once again. She flung an arm around the drunken assassin's shoulder and began to guide him out of the room. She spared a glance over her shoulder to see Tony Stark passed out on top of the island. How he had managed to get up there, the woman would never know, for she was too busy trying to get her partner back to his bedroom while also coaxing his glass from his hand.
"C'mon, Nat," Clint whined, gripping his cup. "One more ain't gonna hurt me!" His drink sloshed a bit and it dribbled on the floor.
"Just hand it over, Barton. You've had enough tonight, you're barely even standing." But the archer was stubborn and held his alcohol out of reach.
"I'm standin' just fine!" He wrenched himself away from the woman, only to stagger into the wall and slide down it, laughing idiotically the whole way to the carpeted floor.
"Jesus Christ," Natasha muttered and forced the red plastic cup out of the man's hands and downed what little was left in it. It burned a trail of fire down her throat and she coughed. She had never been one for alcohol, but she was willing to finish off this glass if it meant she could get Clint to go to bed.
"Why'ja havta do thaaat?" Clint glared up at the red head and she rolled her eyes and she put her hands under his armpits and pulled him to his feet.
"Come on, Clint, you have to go to bed. You're going to have a hell of a hangover in the morning and you have no one to blame but yourself."
"Aw, whatever, Tasha." The woman could hardly understand the drunkard as his words began to run together. He reached over and patted her curly hair. "Dontcha worry your pretty lil head."
"Shut up," Natasha muttered as she kicked open the door to the archer's room and shoved the man in. He toppled over on his bed, his face landing in his pillows. He laughed stupidly before managing to turn himself over to stare up at his friend.
"Ya know, Nat, I really like alcohol."
"Mmhmm," Natasha hummed as she turned around to exit the room. "Go to sleep."
"I like it 'cause it helps me forget things," Clint slurred, turning his head towards that female assassin's retreating figure, which froze in the doorway.
"What…kind of things, Clint?"
"Ya know, bad things, like Loki," the man said. He felt a sort of weight settle on his chest, replacing the elated feelings within him with sorrow. "I did bad things, Nat."
"Clint…Clint, go to sleep." The woman took a step out of the door but she heard a noise she wasn't expecting—a sob. She spun around to see the drunken man on his knees on his mattress, fists pressed to his eyes.
"I killed people," the man sobbed. Within a second, Natasha was across the room and sitting next to him, her arms resting around his shoulders in an attempt at comfort.
"You didn't know, it wasn't your fault." But the man would not be consoled. He shook and she could see the tears glistening in the moonlight the shone through his bedroom window.
"My arrows killed them, Natasha. I pulled the string back and I killed them. I knew I was killing them and I wanted to kill them. I knew they would die and I didn't even spare a second thought." His words were sloppy through his drunkenness and tears and the woman struggled to understand him. She rubbed his back soothingly, but to no avail.
"It's okay, Clint," she whispered. But what happened next was not expected. The archer spun around and grabbed Natasha by the front of her shirt and flung himself on top of her. He put his face centimeters from hers and spoke in a slow, menacing voice.
"Nothing is okay, Natasha." She could feel his hands shaking. Whether it was due to sorrow or rage, she could not tell. "I was manipulated and told to kill and I didn't object." His voice was just a low hiss and it chilled the woman to her core.
"Calm down, calm down," Natasha whispered. There was a sudden pain in her cheek and it took a moment to register that Clint had just slapped her. She blinked several times in confusion and stared as Clint continued to hold her down on the bed, trembling and crying.
"Calm down? Calm down?" Clint roared. Natasha winced, expecting him to slap her again. "I do not need to calm down! I am a monster, Natasha! I killed innocent people! I- I almost killed you. I wanted to kill you!" His words ended in a choked sob and he brought his head down next to Natasha's on the bed. The woman took in a steadying breath and exhaled slowly, calmly.
"You're drunk. You need to sleep. Please let go of me. I don't want to hurt you while you're in this state." Suddenly, Clint's sobs stopped. There was a moment of tense silence before he spoke.
"You think you could hurt me?" he whispered. Another chill ran up Natasha's spine.
"Clint…don't…" she knew where this was going.
"You couldn't even touch me," he sneered.
"I could kill you."
The room froze. Natasha couldn't even hear Clint's breath in her ear. She didn't even think she was breathing. Then, Clint pulled back and smirked at her. She felt fear stab her in the gut.
"Clint—" Her words were cut short as the man's fist came flying towards her. She caught his hand in hers and tried to roll away, but it seemed that Clint's strength had increased in his drunkenness. She had a fleeting thought about how his attacks should be sloppy, but that idea was quickly tossed aside as he flung another fist at her.
"Clint!" Natasha shrieked as she deflected him again. "Stop! You don't know what you're doing!"
"You don't understand!" Clint yelled back. She felt his weight shift on top of her a moment and she noticed him grabbing something out from under his pillow. She took his distraction to her advantage and managed to escape, tumbling off of the bed and onto the hardwood floor. Natasha rolled onto her feet and positioned herself quickly, expecting and anticipating Clint's next move. From under his pillow he had grabbed his bow and his quiver. He held both in ready position, glaring daggers at her.
"Clint…Clint, please, you're drunk. You aren't in your right mind—"
"Shut up!" the archer shouted, pulling an arrow from his quiver. "I know full well what I'm doing! I killed people, Tasha, and there's no going back!" More tears. Natasha didn't know how much more she could handle. She really did not want to hurt this man. When she had fought him before, it wasn't really him. It wasn't his brain or his actions. But this was. Although he was intoxicated, it was still Clint. This was different and it scared Natasha so much that she felt numb.
"Please…" Natasha whispered. She quietly slid a foot backwards. Maybe she could retreat and call for one of the others to help her restrain him until he calmed down. Clint notched an arrow and pulled back the string. Natasha knew he wouldn't miss. He may be drunk, but that didn't change how accurate his attacks were. She slide another foot back.
"I'm sorry, Nat." Clint hiccupped and pulled the string back a bit farther. He watched the fear in the red-haired assassin's eyes grow and grow and just as she turned to flee, he let the arrow fly. He watched as she fell to the floor. No, not fell. Crumpled. Like a discarded doll. Clint sat there for what felt like an hour, silence pulsating around him as he stared at his fallen partner.
He hadn't done that, had he?
That arrow in her back, that wasn't his, was it?
No, no, of course not.
But then…why was his bow in his hand? Why was his quiver short one arrow? Why were tears running uncontrollably down his face? Why were his hands shaking so badly? Why was he suddenly crawling off of his bed and onto the floor next to this woman's body? Why was there so much blood?
"H-help," Clint whispered. Then he looked up at the still-open door of his bedroom. "Help!" he said a bit louder. He glanced down at his red hands and he felt his eyes grow wider than he thought possible. "Help! Someone! Please! Oh, God, help!" He was screaming so loud now that his voice was echoing down the corridors. He buried his face in his hands, not noticing as the blood coated his eyelids and cheeks.
"Agent Barton? Is everything alright in he—Oh, shit." Clint's head shot up to see Bruce Banner in the hall, frozen in shock.
"Help her." No more had to be said as Bruce rushed in and knelt down beside the redhead. He turned her over and straightened her crumpled limbs before finally registering the arrow embedded in her abdomen. His gaze flicked over to the emotional wreck that was Clint.
"What happened?" Bruce asked in complete and utter shock. "Did you…Did you two get into a disagreement?"
"Just help her," Clint repeated. He then curled in on himself and began to sob, his body convulsing uncontrollably. Bruce sat there for a few very confused seconds before scooping the female into his arms and carrying her out of the room and towards his lab as quickly as possible, leaving the distraught archer to his own drunken misery.
The next morning Clint Barton woke up very uncomfortable and nauseous on his bedroom floor. He stretched, feeling kinks in his back, as he attempted not to vomit. He sat up very, very slowly and cracked his eyes open. He regretted that decision immediately as a beam of sunlight hit him in the eyes. He brought his hands up in front of him to block the light and it was then that he saw the dried blood on his fingers and palms. His breath caught in his throat and he looked down at the floor to see blood there, as well. Clint choked and he stumbled to his feet and lurched across the room and into his personal bathroom, just in time to puke into his open toilet. He hunched over, head spinning, until he was finished and he collapsed on the cold floor and rested his head against the side of his bathtub. There was no use trying to hold back the memories from last night during his drunken stupor. Things were hazy—how much had he even managed to drink last night, anyway?—but he still remembered what he had done. He would have vomited again if there had been anything in his stomach. Instead, his stomach simply rolled painfully and he let out a sob and tilted his head back farther. He had shot his best friend. He truly was a monster, wasn't he?
"Knock, knock," said a voice from the bathroom entryway. Clint didn't even look. He already knew who it was.
"Not now," Clint muttered, clutching his gut tighter as his stomach turned.
"Clint, we need to talk."
"No, we really don't." The archer raised his head to look at Steve, who leaned heavily against the doorframe. There were dark bags under his eyes and he looked about ready to collapse.
"Barton, this is serious. What you did needs to be discussed." Clint leaned back again and stared at the white ceiling, breathing deeply as his head began to pound.
"Get me some Tylenol first. It's in the medicine cabinet, behind the mirror." Clint pointed and Steve pulled the mirror back to reveal the shelves of medicines and colognes the assassin had stashed. Steve found the bottle containing the pain killers and tossed the bottle over to Clint. He uncapped it, emptied two pills into his hand, and swallowed them dry.
"You good now?" Steve asked. He reclined back against the wall and stared tiredly at the man on the floor.
"Sure." Clint was trying desperately to keep his poker face while inside he could feel himself cracking each time he caught a glimpse of the dark red on his hands. He couldn't cry here, though, not in front of the leader.
"What…happened last night? Bruce has only told me his side, and he said that you were crying for help and he responded, only to find you over the body of Agent Romanoff, which was pierced by your arrow." The words hit Clint like daggers. He felt his façade falter slightly as his lips began to tremor.
"Yes, that happened," whispered Agent Barton. "I…had been drinking…a lot…" Clint gulped as more of his mask broke. His hands began to shake again and he stared down at them, palms down as to not see the blood. "I became quite…upset…" the man almost chuckled, but he felt this definitely was not the place. "I started thinking about Loki and how I—" his voice cracked "—killed all over those innocent people. Nat tried to calm me down but I wouldn't have any of it." His voice had grown so quiet that Steve had to lean in closer to hear him. "I guess I just snapped."
"You guess?" Steve growled. "You guess you just snapped? You guess you just threatened her? You guess you just shot an arrow through her stomach? You guess you just almost killed her?"
"You mean she's still alive?" Clint asked in wonderment. He brought his eyes up from his hands to stare straight into Steve's.
"Just barely," the man muttered, looking away to gaze at his exhausted reflection in the bathroom mirror. "But you're not allowed to see her." Clint's face fell and his chin dropped to his chest. "I'll have to deal with you later, Barton, because I really need some rest. I'm sending over Tony to keep an eye on you, so don't cause any trouble."
"Don't worry, I won't," Clint said bitterly. He waited until he could no longer hear Rogers's fading footsteps before turning his hands palm-up and sobbing into them.
Clint slept off most of his hangover that day, his cheek pressed against his cool bathtub and his body sprawled across the tile. Tony Stark sat in the doorway, keeping himself preoccupied with a large mug of coffee, a newspaper, and some charts that he was using to plan another upgrade to his suit. He'd cast occasional glances over at the sleeping Hawkeye, whose face was twisted uncomfortably, most likely due to a dream he was having. He was half-tempted to wake Clint up, but the other half of him decided it would be better for the man to get some rest. He really had drunk a lot last night. Tony was lucky he was able to handle hangovers well.
Clint turned in his sleep and his face slid off of the bathtub and slammed on the floor with a loud thunk. Clint shot upright, eyes wide and he cradled his head in his hands.
"Oh, God," Clint moaned.
"Hello, Sleeping Beauty," Tony said, rolling the bottle of pain killers towards Barton. "Better take a few of these."
"Thanks," the man muttered and he swallowed another two pills dry. He groaned loudly and fell back again. "How long have I been out?"
"I don't know, about three or four hours. Captain Stars and Stripes will be by soon to pick you up to 'deal with you', just thought you should know." Tony stared down at his plans, waiting to see if Clint would stand to clean up. After about ten minutes, Stark sighed and set his charts aside. "You had better clean the blood off of yourself, you know." The agent started and then stared down at his hands in silence. Then, he pulled himself shakily to his feet, using the bathtub for support. He staggered over to the sink and began to scrub his hands and face, as well as rinse out his mouth, which still tasted of vomit. All the while, Stark gathered his stuff and stood, tucking his newspaper and notebooks under his arms and grasping his coffee mug in his hand.
"Stark," Clint grunted as he turned off the faucet. "Do you think…Do you think I'm—"
"Save it," Tony said abruptly, turning on his heel. "Just clean up and change. Steve will be here in a minute." With that, Tony Stark left Clint alone in his room.
Steve flung open the bedroom door, revealing a dressed and clean Agent Barton lying on the floor, his dagger gripped in his hands. Acting on impulse, the blonde jerked forward and snatched the knife from the archer.
"What in God's name are you doing with this?" Steve asked breathlessly, tucking the blade into his belt.
"Nothing," Clint responded lifelessly, "Just contemplating."
"Barton, stop. You have to come with me now." He grabbed the man's arm and pulled him to his feet. Clint swayed for a moment or two but then began to walk forward until he reached the door. Steve stopped behind him and sighed. He put a hand on the man's back and tried to push him forward, but he wouldn't move. He slowly, slowly, turned his head and stared blankly at the captain.
"I shot her," Clint whispered. The tone of those three words seemed to turn Steve's blood to ice. Then, as if nothing had happened, Barton turned back around and continued forward. Rodgers stood stock-still for a second before snapping into action and seizing Clint's forearm. He then began to lead him down the hall and into a painfully white conference room. Inside sat Director Fury, who looked like the epitome of rage.
"Agent Barton, please sit," the man said with force politeness. The archer did as he was told and slid into the vacant seat that was the farthest from the director. "It has come to our attention that you have attacked one of your teammates."
"Yes," Clint replied emotionlessly. He went to look down at his hands, but remembered that they were now clean and held no traces of Natasha's blood.
"Would you care to explain what in God's name compelled you to shoot an arrow through your comrades' stomach?" Fury's voice rose angrily at the end of his question and it looked as if he were about to stand and slam his hands on the table.
"I was drunk," Barton said.
"Very drunk," Steve chimed in. Fury shot him a look that caused the captain to shrink back.
"That isn't an excuse, Agent. Being brainwashed by Loki is an excuse, not being completely smashed." Clint flinched at the name of the demi-god. "Oh, I see the name still hurts. I apologize." The sarcasm stung more than the fact that Clint had allowed himself to show weakness in front of his boss.
"I have a feeling apologizing won't help?" the assassin asked, folding his hands nervously in his lap. Fury laughed humorlessly.
"I'm afraid an apology won't fix the near-death of one of our most valued assassins, Agent Barton. You can't just kiss this and make it better." There was a tense silence before the director leaned back in his chair and sighed. "I know you've been troubled, and that was most likely the cause of your excessive drinking, correct?"
"Yes," Clint said. Faint memories of chugging red cups full of vodka filled his mind, along with a half-assed fight with Tony on the kitchen floor.
"You were not all there mentally, were you?"
"No, I was not." Clint cleared his throat and met the director's eyes. "I was scared. I felt like a monster, Director Fury. So, I succumbed to it. I became a monster and by the time I realized what I had done, it was too late. In my drunkenness, I notched an arrow and shot it in Agent Romanoff's abdomen." The man was surprised at how strong his own voice sounded, despite his inner turmoil. Just speaking of his actions made his insides squeeze painfully and made Clint want to go back into his bathroom and cry some more, even though he'd never been one to cry. He guessed he could make an exception to crying when it came to Natasha, though. Barton was snapped from his thoughts when his boss sighed across the table from him and folded his hands.
"In truth, Hawkeye, Agent Romanoff's condition requires more attention than your immediate punishment. Once we are sure that Romanoff has recovered in full, we will deal with you accordingly. Until then you will be forbidden from visiting her and will be under house arrest." The director's voice was calm and cool and Clint could tell it shocked Steve and the other agents in the room.
"Yes, sir," Barton said. "I understand."
"You may leave then, Agent Barton." The agent gave a slight nod and stood before being grabbed by Rogers again and escorted back to his room. Once there, he was shoved inside and the door was locked, leaving Clint alone in his room and Rogers outside to stand guard. The man sighed, shuffled over to his bathroom, and stepped into his tub fully clothed. He sat and, mind blank, he reached over and turned on the showerhead as hot as it would go and sat.
A/N: Thank you all for reading! There will be a part two up shortly, and hopefully it's as long as this. That will most likely be the final part, but there may be a third one, depending on how Part Two develops.
Reviews are always nice xxx