Alrighty, so I'm just gonna leave this one here on the queue of new Blackhawk stories. Until the very end I will use everyone's civilian name, to make them more human. And at the end, well, you'll get the idea. Umm, sorry if this is depressing as hell. I got the idea from one of those, "story in six words" thingy. I promise if I get an idea I'll post a less depressing BlackHawk oneshot in the future!
Trigger warning: implied rape.
"The baby's blood type? Human, mostly."
Clint remembered exactly where he was that day, the time, down to the exact second, when his world started to burn.
It was a Saturday actually. A beautiful day. Of course, no one in Avengers Tower was outside enjoying the day - expect for Pepper, but her strenuous workload packaged into a slim custom made laptop that happened to be outside of a petite coffee shop down the block could hardly be considered enjoying herself. Thor would later let it slip to Clint that Tony had been glad that she had been out of the tower that day. Clint didn't blame the occasionally iron clad man. He wished that everyone had been gone from the tower that day.
That afternoon Clint had spent in the training room. Well, the training floor actually. It was two levels below the Avengers' living quarters, and directly below Bruce's and Tony's joint lab. Stark had made sure that the Avengers had more than enough room for training and living. And of course, he and Pepper had their own separate floors away from the "rody and obnoxious violence" that came from have several super powered individuals living together.
He had just developed a new type of arrow earlier in the month. A carbon graphite shaft, with a Tungsten Carbide center. The arrow was specifically designed to pierce through the titanium exterior of the Iron Man himself, after all Clint was an assassin and a spy to the heart. A contingency plan, so to speak. Of course, Tony didn't know this. No one knew it actually, except for himself and Natasha who had been of quite some help when calculating the amount of carbon graphite to tungsten carbide for maximum velocity in flight.
She had the decency not to act surprised when he came to her asking for advice on how to kill their comrades. Being an assassin was in her blood too, after all. She had even proposed the idea of an arrow that could penetrate even the shield of Captain America. After careful consideration of her idea, as Clint was never one to disregard Natasha, he vetoed the idea. There would be no point in creating an arrow for that, because of the curvature of the shield. Perhaps he would trade out his steel alloy cable for his standard bow for something stronger if that became the case. Finding the metaphorical kryptonite of the Hulk and Thor was something he had not yet considered how to do yet. Rather, Clint was going through the Avengers' weaknesses based on direct threat of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
Tony was the most volatile, therefore at the top of the list. Then came Natasha, because of her simple dangerous nature. But, Clint had developed the perfect weapon against Natasha years ago, when he had first been set out of kill her, so that was of little problem to him. Rogers was next in the logical progression simply because of Thor's relatively docile nature towards humans, and the lack of any accidents on Bruce's behalf for over a year.
How wrong he had been, in retrospect. Tony didn't play well with others, sure, but Clint had miscalculated the threats. Tony clearly wasn't on the top of the list, Clint would find. Perhaps though, it was the basis of his calculations that were wrong. It wasn't S.H.I.E.L.D. that he was trying to protect. S.H.I.E.L.D. was an international organization. It could protect itself.
Now, just because the arrows had been specifically designed to kill Stark, didn't mean that Clint wasn't going to use them for anything else. When it came to arrows, Clint was a kid in a candy shop: he just had to try them all.
Recently, he and Thor had been on a mission in Ukraine dealing with a leftover crime syndicate of The Ukraine, and he had a chance to try out the arrows. The results were gratifying, exceeding his expectations of in the field performance.
However, one thing he hadn't accounted for was the added weight of the tungsten carbide core affected his aim. Nothing significant, of course. Mere centimeters, if not millimeters, and that was on a moving target. But, Clint was not one to settle for less than perfection, so he settled down in the training room for target practice that Saturday afternoon, hoping to have mended his slight miscalculation.
By the time his stomach growled, reminding him he hadn't had anything but the simple coffee he had shared with Natasha in the early morning, Clint had already adjusted his marksmanship to perfection. Shrugging off the hunger, he decided to wait and practice the arrows with his standard explosion tips.
However, right as he released the arrow, a crash resounded through the tower, echoing from above him. Grimmly, Clint looked at the arrow impeded in ring outside of the bullseye, a solid 3 inches from his normal dead eye. He frowned at the sound. No doubt it was simply just Tony and Rogers having a pissing contest and trying to prove who was more of a man. The contests and fights happened nearly every day, sometimes every hour that Clint had learned to ignore them. However, they were interrupting his training.
Deciding that he wanted to fire a few more rounds of the arrows with the detonating devices attached, Clint put off feeding himself, and inspecting the latest Avengers argument.
He would regret that decision for the rest of his life.
He thought he had only fired a few rounds, satisfied by a quick change in his aiming mechanism to account for the added weight before he was through and ready to feed himself. No doubt Natasha had also skipped the meals of the day, as they normally would bring one another food to have company, if Rogers didn't pull the team together for some sort of bonding dinner.
When he would later look at what he could salvage of the security camera videos, he would find it was only about five minutes that he had spent between the first (and only) disruption and his last fired arrow. Having no idea of the events happening elsewhere in the tower, Clint had taken his time ascending from the training floor to the above floors. He packed up with the care required, but kept his bow and quiver about him to carry them back to his private quarters.
It was seven minutes.
Only seven. He could have easily investigated at the first noise, and been at the next level in less than a minute. The emergency stairwell had been only feet from him, leading directly to the floor above him.
By the time Clint had reached the laboratory floor, it was already too late.
He opened the glossy white door that separated the labs from the main tower and was faced with his worst nightmare.
The laboratory was in ruins. The center of the chaos, Tony and Bruce's join lab room. A series of walls were broken down, and at the end of the destruction Tony was a bloody pulp, lying amidst the ruins. In Bruce and Tony's lab fancy computers were broken and in pieces, tables overthrown. Of course, the one time that Tony's special noise dampening walls were a disadvantage.
And in the middle of it all, The Hulk. And beneath the green monster, Natasha. Her limbs were flayed at unreasonable angles, head lobbed to the side. Eyes closed, and face pale. Little to no signs of life.
Thinking back to it, Clint often wondered if it would have been better for everyone if she had actually been dead.
The Hulk turned to Clint, its grotesque smirk aimed at the archer as if taunting him. Its abominable features almost read, Does it hurt you that I had my way with her? Perhaps even before you did?
And assassin at heart, Clint reacted to his rage before even he knew what he was doing. Arrow notched to his bow, already loaded with the deadly combination of an arrow that could pierce even the Iron Man, and the most densely packed explosive in the world. Clint pulled back the cold steel alloy of his bowstring, and left fly his messenger of death.
Of course, not even a highly technologically advanced arrow such as Clint's could pierce the impenetrable hind of The Hulk. But Clint didn't aim for the skin, because the skin can be trained, armored, vital organs covered and protected, but no one can turn their eyes to steel. The arrow flew true, results of his training, to directly pierce through The Hulk's left eye. The arrow entered the brain through the optical socket, severing several main structures, until finally slicing the spinal cord of the man turned monster. Instantly, dead on impact The Hulk fell to the ground.
And in his cold rage, Clint didn't hesitate as he pressed the "Detonate" control for the arrow, exploding The Hulk's head from the inside.
In the days that followed Tony and Natasha being dismissed from the tower's medical wing, Clint would pester Tony about what had happened to set Bruce off, to unleash The Hulk. For once though, the billionaire kept his lips sealed, leaving Clint to wonder if Tony had poked Bruce one too many times, or maybe Natasha had made one too many quips, or maybe it was as Bruce had said back in their first fight. Maybe he just was always angry, The Hulk always ready to rip from him and cause destruction.
By the time he had thought to look at the video log, Tony had already scrambled most of the feed, for the entire laboratory floor. At points, Clint could pick up bits of audio, of walls crashing as, he assumed, Tony went flying through them, of glass shattering. Of a women's fragmented breath as she fought for a short time.
Natasha wouldn't leave her room for nearly a month, milking the excuse of her broken leg for all she could. Anything to keep her teammates from finding the broken husk she saw when she looked in the mirror. Clint alone was allowed in her room, until finally, he permanently moved a small cot into the room.
Two weeks after the accident, the Avengers held a public funeral for Bruce. Clint declined his invitation, on account that he had killed the man. Natasha declined her invitation, and no one asked why. They stayed in that night.
Some nights she would nightmare up what might have been memories. Some nights she wouldn't sleep at all. For days, Clint would whisper walk around her, every noise would startle her until she was absolutely certain it was only Clint.
He didn't remember what night it had been - was it Post-Accident 7, or 9? 15? - when Natasha had called him from his tiny cot into her own. When she had assaulted his lips, claiming back her control. He let her have that control, because he knew how she needed. Knew how they both needed it.
From that night on, he had moved from the tiny cot into Natasha's bed. After sometime, he officially moved the cot out of the room, and his bow into her closet. Had the accident not happened, Clint was sure that Tony would have made some crude joke about it, or Steve would have made some sort of judgemental comment being the traditional 80-some-year-old virgin that he was. However, in reality, no one said a single thing.
Not long after, she started going outside again. Almost immediately she requested for a new mission from Fury, and started going back on missions. She wasn't recovered yet, Clint knew, even behind the new mask, but nothing could help her better than killing people. So, he did the logical thing, requested to be her partner, and within a week they were both on a plane headed towards Ukraine. He wasn't babysitting her, they both knew, but she needed someone to hold at night, to help her fight off the nightmares.
They went on several missions, delivering justice, killing the unjust. And for a while, things looked like they were on their way back to normal. Except, two months into her pregnancy, Natasha began to show.
As it turned out, S.H.I.E.L.D. had an excellent maternity leave program - much to Natasha and Clint's annoyment. She needed to be out in the field, they both knew. Being away from her work would only hinder her recovery. Why she never terminated the pregnancy, Clint never knew. She didn't have a maternal bone in her body, as far as he knew.
And, as it would be, S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't the only one who decided to pamper them. Tony remodeled the floor plan, opening up a new space for the nursery. The wallpaper was a sickening yellow, so one night when Tony was working, Natasha and Clint snuck in and painted the walls a much more normal, bland color. Tony, of course was furious - he had Pepper do the design, after all, but the assassins paid him little heed.
Natasha spent the next seven months training, attempting to get Fury to put her back in the field, and viciously impairing anyone who got in the way between herself and her morning coffee. On more than one occasion did Tony suffer the blunt end of her knives when he had drunk the last of the coffee.
The baby arrived two weeks early, much to everyone's delight. Even Pepper began to doubt if Tony would survive another morning of attempting to avoid Natasha before her coffee and attempting to annoy her at the exact same time.
The baby's blood type? Human, mostly.
The child had Natasha's nose and jaw line, and Bruce's dark tousled hair. And The Hulk's eyes.
Upon delivery in the sickeningly clean medical ward of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ship, the nurses had immediately swaddle the baby, and handled Natasha her son. She looked quizzically at the crying, red and wrinkled newborn, and had properly handed the child over to Clint, who had been standing at her side. The archer was surprised by the sudden burden, and had nearly dropped the boy.
"Give him a good name." Natasha had instructed Clint before passing out from the pain medicines and exertion.
To say that he was surprised was an understanding. He held the tiny - so tiny! - child in his hands and looked down upon the child. All the pain and suffering, the hurt, and the horrible, unspeakable evils, and yet here at the heart of it all was a completely innocent child. For a moment he considered naming the boy Bruce or maybe Phil, but quickly threw the names out of the window.
Finally, for lack of any better name Clint named the small boy, Junior. He muttered to the S.H.I.E.L.D. nurses that the boy could make his own name for himself later, just as his mother had, if he so wanted. When Tasha had briefly woken from her stupor, she had slurred something out that sounded like approval of the name, so the nurses put down the official name on the birth certificate. Junior Romanoff. Mother: Natasha Romanoff. Father: Undeclared.
Of course, in the following years, Natasha was the mother to Junior by blood only. In reality, what with her being out on the job so much, Pepper had become the stable mother figure in the young boy's life. And not that she abandoned the child, but there simply wasn't time in her life for another life. Though Clint dutifully took up the father role, somehow or another he found himself observing the fact that Tony and Steve seemed to have taken the boy under their wings. Perhaps Tony just wanted another small bodied, big eyed fan to worship him and to always be amused when he showed them new inventions. Perhaps it was simply in Steve's upbringing not to leave a child alone without 'strong male guidance.' Either way, somehow or another, Junior had become the son of not just Natasha, but also the surrogate child of every single Avenger. Tony even had JARVIS calling him "Young sir."
As the years went by, Clint saw Natasha interact with Junior less and less. Not by any fault of her own, but for once, she was back in the field full time. The times he did see her, were often not at the Avengers Tower, instead on joint missions. And when they did have the luxury of being together, they were as much as they could. They still shared the same bed, and still slept with each to her when they could, but it was no longer to fend off the nightmares. The night horse had finally left Tasha alone.
As for the boy, he had a far from a normal upbringing, of course. Living with, let alone being raised by, a tower of superheroes could hardly be considered normal. He received standard schooling and - to Pepper's disapprovement - standard young spy training. Clint hoped that the boy would continue with his training when he was old enough to make his own choice. It would make his mother proud, after all. And in some way, it would make him proud too. Just like the other Avengers, Clint had reared the boy, and felt some paternal bond towards him. In another life, Clint would have thought that he would have stood in as a permanent father figure to the boy. But not in this life. Not in these circumstances.
Of course there was the matter of the boy's diluted blood. He was after all, only partly human. Even though the young child rarely ventured beyond the vast walls of Avengers' Tower, the boy was old enough to know he was different. Not even among superheroes was pure green eyes a common trait. Nor was the ability to throw one's play dump trucks across the room, and through the neighboring wall.
The Avengers' were thankful of course, that Junior's abilities did not seem at all in correlation with his moods, as per his sire's abilities. Thor had agreed to teach 'Romanson' how to correctly use his powers with dignity and honor when he was old enough. Tony had vaguely hinted that he could place Junior in a company position at Stark if he ended up choosing not to follow in his mother's footsteps as a spy. Steve wanted to teach the boy how to ride a motorcycle when he was older, and had insisted on buying a play motorcycle - much to Natasha's approval and Pepper's disapproval.
As for Clint, he had no great aspirations for his surrogate son. Sure, he had promised the boy and his mother to teach him archery, but it was by no driven cause of his own. Instead, Clint had watched the boy grow. From the time when Natasha had first grasped his hand in a panic and placed it over the kicking inside of her, both in fear and wonderment, to the first time he had grasped the boy's hand and had placed in on the loaded cable of a compound bow. He had changed the boy's diapers, and taught him his standard math assignments. In some way, Clint had wished that Junior had chosen him as a paternal figure over the other Avengers, but Clint was just one of the four men that raised him.
So instead, Clint hoped for only one thing of the boy.
Soon, he would begin to be old enough to do many things. He would learn to ride a motorcycle, to master his powers. He would have the chance to be a master assassin, or even a CEO. Soon, he would begin to question why he had two maternal figures, and four paternal figures. Soon, he would begin to wonder why it was he had inherited such great powers when he mother possessed none.
Perhaps he would catch his reflection one day, and ask why it was that his was so different. Or maybe he'd catch stories of an old family friend, a scientist, a man with a big heart, and uneasy to anger. Maybe he'd find an old worn out newspaper that hadn't yet been discarded, which detailed another Avengers member that he had never met.
Some day soon, his world would all come crashing down. The out of place eyes, and the empty spot on his birth certificate would begin to make sense. The horror of his conception would come to light, and Clint's own role in the tragedy would unsurface.
And when it came down to it, Clint hoped the boy would hate him.
Clint hoped he would hate him in the way the Avengers could not for taking away from them their beloved scientist. For the way his real father could not, for the murder of his friend and comrade. For the way that Natasha could not, for the way he had been too late.
Hawkeye wished the boy would hate him.