Author's Note: So, I sort of thought of this really late last night, then wrote it, and then finally went to sleep around three in the morning. So I am exhausted, but now I have this cute like one shot for you guys.
It started with the vision of Natasha sobbing in a hospital, and Tony catching her in his arms and hugging her. And then a lady thinking they were a couple. And just went from there. So enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel or The Avengers.
Summary: The Avengers might clash like crazy, but when one of them is hurt, the others are there. And Steve realizes they're like one huge dysfunctional –but loving- family.
It was supposed to be an easy mission. Get in and get out. Simple really, which is why Fury only sent two of his precious avengers.
Stark was in London, hosting a conference for Stark Industries. There was really no need to call him; it would take him too long to get back anyways, and SHIELD didn't really feel like sending a plane.
Banner was down in Somalia, helping some other scientists develop a water cleaning system to try to bring down the death rate, which was skyrocketing. The Hulk would most likely jeopardize the mission, so he was out.
Barton was deep undercover in Tokyo, attempting to bring a big-time mob leader down. It was impossible to pull him out. He had worked on the cover for three months now; there was too much at risk.
Thor, by chance, was not in Asgard, but was in New Mexico with his girlfriend Jane Foster. Fury offered to contact him, but in the end they decided against doing so. It seemed cruel to cut down on his time with her.
Consequently, only Romanoff and Rodgers were called, and in two hours, were in Olympia, Washington. An anonymous phone call was received at SHIELD headquarters that morning, threatening to 'put the Avengers out of commission' once in for all. Fury was only slightly worried – they received threats like this one all the time – but figured they should check this one out. After all, this person was able to get ahold of a very secure phone line. That deserved a look over.
Natasha frowned as her feet noiselessly hit the bottom level of the warehouse. Even for an easy mission, this felt too… easy.
"Black Widow, do you copy?" Steve asked over the comm unit.
"Yes, Captain. I'm on the first floor, looking for the main computer system," she replied softly, careful not to let her voice get too loud. She cocked a gun, just in case.
His next words held a hint of amusement. "Just… dropping in," he said innocently. A few seconds later, she heard the echoing sound of his boots touching the roof.
"We need to work on your stealth," she retorted, smirking. "Found it," she added, looking around at the control room. "It'll be up and out for us in no time, Captain."
"Good," he replied. "You promised you would watch that… Tony Story movie with me."
"Toy Story," she corrected immediately, leaning over to reach the main computer. "Okay, information is downloading. The Director will have it in a few moment."
"Sounds good. Hey, do you think-" There was a pause, then a horrified gasp. "Natasha! Get out of there!"
Instantly, the mood was changed. Not even bothering to ask for an explanation, she began to run, quickly gathering speed. "Captain," she asked quickly, "what is it?" Her training kept her in shape, so she was able to speak without panting while she was physically exerting herself.
"There's a bomb," Steve rushed out hurriedly. "And I think something's surrounding the buildings."
Natasha swore quickly and violently in Russian. "Jump, Steve!" she shouted as a huge roar echoed behind her. The bomb had gone off, and there was no time to worry about code names.
She could feel the fire licking at her heels, but she made it out of the building with no more than a few first-degree burns on her hands –she was mostly protected by her bodysuit. She pulled out her guns, flinching as she heard Steve hit the ground behind her with a sickening thud. Well, had at least he had fell into a place where he was better protected.
The sound of a bullet leaving a gun wasn't foreign to her, and she instinctively flipped out of the way before it could hit her. It didn't take the redhead long to take down all immediate threats; there ending up only being about eight men surrounding the building, and she definitely had more than eight tricks up her sleeve.
She killed mercilessly and quickly. There was no way to determine how Steve was holding up unless they were safe, and Natasha was bent on making them that way. Soon.
She promptly dropped her guns the minute she could see no more assassins, and fell to her knees beside Steve's head. She grabbed his wrist; the pulse was there, but it was weak and he was bleeding profusely. The building had already caved in on itself, and Natasha sighed, guiltless. At least she had given him the right advice.
Natasha knew that she had to get the super solider to the nearest hospital. Steve might've been genetically enhanced, but he desperately needed blood transfusions, and maybe a CAT scan.
Through an adrenaline rush she was lucky to possess, she hauled Steve to the black convertible that SHIELD had lent them for the job. She deposited him in the passenger seat, strapping in before impatiently swinging herself over him in order to slide seamlessly into the driver's seat.
She broke every traffic law she knew – and probably created some new violations of her own- but she was in front of the nearest hospital in less than five minutes. As the EMTs gathered Steve from the car, she stepped aside to put in a call to Fury. He was surprising understanding about the fact her voice broke multiple times. She tried to shake herself out of it; she hated being an emotional wreck, which was quickly what she was turning into.
Fury promised they'd send someone out, but Natasha told him to stay away. She worried that the normal, civilian population could become suspicious if a bunch of people in uniforms came stomping into the hospital. They were not worried about Steve receiving help: he might've been genetically enhanced, but his system still worked the same as most human beings. The serum floating through his veins would turn any normal blood transfusions immediately to the special blood anyway.
Natasha quickly filled out the required paperwork, saying that her name was Natasha Rodgers and her brother had fallen off their roof. She produced the emergency paperwork created for this purpose, and was then reduced to pacing the hall outside Steve's room. The doctor was resetting bones now, and Natasha was just relieved Steve was unconscious while this was happening.
They told her they were unsure of his recovery, and they would not give her any other information. In short, she was hyperventilating. If for some reason, Steve did not come out of this…
Suddenly, she wished Fury had sent someone. She did not want to be alone anymore. Resting her forehead against the cool wall, she took a deep breath. She choked halfway through, though, and tears began to spill down her cheeks. She willed them to go away, but they wouldn't.
Finally giving in, she rested her entire weigh against the door, crying harder. The tears turned into sobs, and she could hardly believe it. She had thought emotions had been forced out of her a long time ago, but now, she felt. And oh, how feelings hurt.
Nevertheless, her senses were not dulled. She heard running footsteps down the corridor, and for some reason they sounded apart from the normal hustle and bustle of the hospital. She wasn't ready to turn around, but suddenly the footsteps turned into fast paced walking and she felt a presence beside her. An arm wound immediately around her waist, cool lips pressed themselves to her temple, and she found herself – through blurry eyes- staring at the expensive shoes of Tony Stark.
She tried to move to head so she could meet his eyes, but he kept her locked close in this awkward embrace. "Shh, Tasha, he's going to be fine. I'm sorry; I should've been there – oh, Sweetheart…"
To her utter embarrassment, Natasha began to cry again. But Tony, she knew, had two modes with her. The first and usual one -snarky, joking, and narcissistic Ironman -was not present, and protective older brother Tony had taken his place. She was untouchable right now.
She didn't even attempt to ask about the meeting, figuring he had torn out of there the moment he had heard. After all, a little over an hour later, he had almost gone half way around the world.
They stayed that for God only knows how long, when an old lady walked up to them. "Is that your child in there?" she asked kindly. "I know how you must feel – I was around your age when my little Robbie had his first surgery."
Tony and Natasha were pulled out of the dark cloud that had settled over them enough to stare at her in horror, before a forced laugh came from the end of the hallway. Bruce Banner stood there, one hand holding a small bag and the other deep in his pocket. "Hey," he greeted awkwardly. They all stared at each other for a minute, then the new arrival held up his bag. "I brought food," he added.
Natasha was spurred into action, taking off down the hall and jumping Bruce, throwing her arms around his neck and kicking her feet into the air. Her actions made him drop the bag in order to hold her up. "Hey," Natasha returned quietly, "thanks for coming."
"Somalia can wait," he shrugged. "You guys are my number one priority."
"I thought you didn't like SHIELD," Tony pointed out, picking up the bag. The older woman had already returned to her seat quietly, glaring at them judgingly, now thinking this bunch was a bit too… free with their actions. If only she could see all the Avengers together…
"I wasn't talking about SHIELD," Bruce hissed, before the anger at hearing the name eased out of him. "All of us, we're tied together by some sort of bond…"
"Ionic?" Tony questioned.
"Covalent," Bruce confirmed. Natasha stayed silent; they were having one their science moments. Bruce immediately got back on track. "Anyways, I found myself waiting to have some sort of contact with you guys…" He trailed off, blushing. "Is that bad?"
Tony shrugged. "If you tell anyone, I'll kill you, but I've been the same."
Realizing that they were standing in the middle of the hallway, they made their way to Steve's room, Bruce sinking down so he was sitting with Natasha in his lap, and Tony next to him. The billionaire opened the bag, passing the shawarma around. It had become the comfort food for the entire group. "How is he doing?" Bruce finally asked.
Before Natasha could reply, she was interrupted. "Hello, friends," Thor said tiredly. Plopping down across from them, he reached for Tony's shoulder, patting it hard. Tony winced, but said nothing.
"No crazy entrance and/or nurses screaming and running for the exit?" Bruce asked. "I'm surprised."
"You're stealing all my lines today, Banner," Tony grumbled.
"How is Friend Steve?" Thor questioned quietly. Though, for most, it was a normal volume of voice.
"The doctors are worried," Natasha admitted. "But no one will tell me anything. I signed off on the papers saying I was Steve's sister, by the way," she informed them lowly. "Just in case you're asked."
"Is Clint coming?" Tony asked. "I know he's in Tokyo."
Natasha shook her head. "Probably not. He's so deep undercover, and he would never give up a mission-"
"-unless one of my team is of an unknown condition in a hospital," came a steely voice behind them. Clint crouched in front of them, still in his suit. "Tasha, how is he?"
"I don't know!" Natasha exploded. "No one will tell me, and I'm supposed to- I mean, I am his sister! Aren't I supposed to be informed?" She broke down. Immediately, both Clint and Tony had an arm around her.
"It was the worst for you, sweetheart," Tony comforted. "You had to drag him here; you saw it happen. You can't imagine how guilty I feel for not being there, for not protecting you – both of you."
"I feel the same way," Bruce sighed, looking down. "What if- guys, what if he's gone."
Thor suddenly had Bruce around the throat. "Do not say that." He paused, looking at the expression on the scientist's face. "And, Bruce, do not tell me to fear the beast. No one in front of you is afraid of the Hulk, I assure you."
Natasha grabbed his hand. "I'm certainly not," she told him staunchly. "Believe it, and have some hope. God, we live on it."
They sat in silence for a long time, eating shawarma and wordlessly comforting each other. None of them, no matter how hard they tried, could hear a single thing from Steve's room.
The doctor came out, and instantly they were all on their feet, Thor's hand on Bruce's shoulder, and Tony's arm still protectively around Natasha. He wanted to be there in case she broke down again, though the rest of the team was giving him funny looks. Clint was standing alone, arms crossed, facial expression saying 'if you give me shit, I will beat you up.'
The doctor cleared his throat in surprise. "What relation are the rest of you to the patient?" He questioned. "Only family is allowed back here."
They stared at him, Tony catching on first. Squeezing Natasha tightly and turning her slightly into his chest, he replied, "This is my wife." Natasha played along, nodding to the doctor and wrapping her arms around Tony's waist. Tony praised the heavens that this guy didn't seem to recognize him as Tony Stark.
Bruce spoke up next. "Uh, I'm Natasha and Steve's older brother," he lied, "and this is Th- Tom, who is Tony's younger brother who was with him when he got the message from Natasha about the atta- accident." He finished, straight faced. Apparently not a terrible liar.
The doctor raised an eyebrow at Clint's appearance. "And you?" he questioned disapprovingly.
Clint, with a perfect poker face and worried expression in his eye that he didn't have to fake, looked squarely at the older man. "I am Steve's fiancé. I rushed here straight from the shooting range, so you'll have to excuse my attire."
Natasha smiled for the time that day; luckily, she had Tony's chest to hide it. The others did not break their perfect countenance, though Thor was close to chuckling. It was impressive.
The doctor pursed his lips disapprovingly, but nodded. "Mr. Rodgers is currently in a deep sleep; it cannot be called a coma yet, but if he does not wake in the next day, that is the proper term. He hit his head rather hard. Why was he jumping off a roof?"
Natasha immediately replied: "He didn't exactly jump. My wording might have been off; I was so worried. He was fixing a few drips Tony and I had in our roof, and fell. I was working in the garden and was able to get him in the car."
The rest of the Avengers almost laughed at the thought of Natasha working in the garden. Definitely not when she could be shooting things.
"Can we go in?" Bruce asked softly.
The doctor nodded. "Please, be quiet though. Mr. Rodgers needs to focus on healing his brain before hearing a bunch of chitter-chatter." He then quickly walked away, into a different room.
The first thing Natasha heard when entering the room was the steady beeping sound coming from the heart monitor. Then she saw Steve, who looked as if he really could've been sleeping. Sinking against Tony's side, she sighed deeply.
Tony bent down to reach her ear. Tony, who always knew what she was thinking. "Not your fault, sweetheart," he breathed. "Relax," he said a bit louder, "Steve's going to be fine."
Natasha was grateful that Tony did not mention the state that she was in when he found her. He was one of the very few people to ever see her break down like that.
Clint sat down in the seat by the bed. "It's two in the morning, guys. Let's sleep; Steve is untouchable with all of us here. Tomorrow, we can go take a crack at whoever it was that hurt one of ours."
They all nodded, and Thor and Bruce let out a yawn.
Tony and Natasha were already asleep.
The first thing Steve was aware of was an annoying, evenly paced beeping sound. Then, there was a woman with a hand on his wrist and an ear to his chest, checking his vitals. Steve opened his eyes.
"Good morning," the woman whispered. "Are you hungry?"
Steve shook his head. "Thirsty," he croaked. Immediately, there was a glass of water to his lips, and he took a long, refreshing drink. "Thank you, Ma'am," he said graciously, his voice clearer.
"I have to go to check on my other patients," the woman –who he now figured out was a nurse- began, "but, might I say, you have a very loyal family."
Steve was about to respond, to say he had no family, but she was already gone. He carefully propped himself up on some pillows, his eyes widening when he could see the floor of the room.
Clint was asleep closest, his head resting on Thor's stomach. Thor was resting across Bruce's body, which was comical because Bruce was tiny compared to Thor. Bruce had clasped hands with Natasha, and Clint also had an arm wrapped around her leg. Natasha was held close against Tony's chest, who had one arm around her stomach and the other holding her right hand.
Not even taking the time to wonder how they had all gotten there, Steve smiled. Taking his phone from the bedside table, he snapped a picture using the shortcut that Tony had recently taught him.
'The nurse was right,' he thought, 'Despite the circumstances that brought us together, and the fact we're completely dysfunctional, headstrong, and from different backgrounds and worlds, we are a family. A protective, loving family. And this is the best family a man like me could ever possibly imagine or wish for.'
Steve smiled at the notion. He felt perfectly at peace right now.
Natasha's eyes fluttered open, and deep green eyes met his clear blue ones. The green eyes widened comically. "Steve! Steve, can you forgive me? I- you're all right, right? And Steve – God, Stark, let go of me," she yelled, annoyed, trying to get out of Tony's arms, Bruce's fierce hand-holding, and Clint's grip on her leg.
It was like a chain reaction. Now he had a hospital room full of awake-but-sleepy, aching, disheveled Avengers.
They all gathered around the bed, checking to make sure Steve was alright. Once they knew he was, the worried expressions were gone and the badass expressions secured in place. Especially Natasha's, and both Tony and Steve were wondering if they'd ever see that other emotional side of her again.
After gathering their various weapons – Natasha had found one of her electric bracelets in Bruce's pocket, for some reason- the Avengers, minus Steve, were ready to set out to exact their revenge on whomever Fury told them had nearly killed their teammate. That is, until Tony stopped short, picking up an empty paper bag and glaring at the rest of them accusingly.
"Okay… Who ate the rest of the shawarma? Because it wasn't me or Tasha, because we were sleeping."
Of course, Steve thought, the Avengers family took dysfunctional to a whole new level.
But still, family.
Hope you enjoyed!