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MISSION 21

You: “Tony I swear.. you better have a good reason for… what.. the.. hell?” I stopped in the door, Tony and Banner both looking up from the ‘something’ they wanted to show me. Wires wrapped around their fingers, tools in their hands.. and My Crimson Blade suit on the table.. in pieces.

Tony: “Don’t get mad.” Tony returned to the arm he had been working on, Banner taking a step back from the leg he had been working on dismantling.

You: “I’m not mad..” I walked up behind him, peering over his shoulder at the opened forearm plate he was currently tinkering with. “What’s that?”

Tony: “What’s what?” I pointed at something within the arm.

You: “That.. right there..” Tony leaned in, squinting his eyes as he tried to pick out what I had noticed.. then I slapped him upside the head.. hard.

Tony: “OWW!!” He shot up, spinning around to give me a surprised look. “The hell was that for!?”

You: “What the HELL are you doing to my SUIT Tony!?” I looked it over, the right arm was dislodged from the shoulder. The helmet on the table behind Banner. The left leg in pieces, with the right sitting upright behind Tony. “Why on EARTH would you pull it apart!?” Tony was still looking at me angrily, steaming over my supposedly unprompted assault on his head. Banner had to step in for him.

Bruce: “The secondary system..” I turned to the lightly timid man, shooting him an angrily confused look. “Tony said you needed help calibrating the secondary weapons system in the suit.. gotta say.. it’s pretty clever the way you designed the flow system.. But a lot of the enhancement system was cutting off the energy flow from your chest reactor.. especially in that.” He gestured to the leg behind me..

You: “PLEASE tell me you didn’t mess with the leg support.” Banner’s hands shot up in defense.

Bruce: “Nope, and neither did Tony.. though I did have to stop him from it.” I turned to face my brother, his back against the farthest wall he could find.

Tony: “I thought I could improve it.. didn’t want it putting too much pressure on your shin.” He shrugged. My face turned down in a scowl.

You: “It isn’t putting any pressure on my shin. That’s how I DESIGNED it.. well.. JARVIS and I designed it..” My features softened as I turned back to Banner. “Thank you for stopping him.” He smiled, nodding his gratitude. “You could have at least warned me you know.” I came around the table, eyeing the pieces the left leg was currently in. “But no.. instead you try to give me a heart attack.. like I don’t have enough bodily issues.” Tony snorted a bit.

Tony: “Right.. because you’re the only one here with ‘bodily issues’.. “ He gestured to the reactor in his chest, then to Banner.. right. “At least you and I chose to live with them..” I turned to Banner, finding a sad smile on his face.

You: “Dr. Banner, I didn’t mean to imply..” He waved me off.

Bruce: “You didn’t do anything wrong.. I’ve gotten used to my.. issue.. and you don’t have to keep calling me Dr. you know.. I’d like to consider us friends.. after all you did open your tower to me.” I heard Tony groan at the mention of Stark tower. I just laughed, slapping Bruce on the back.

You: “You see that!?” I gestured to Bruce wildly as I eyed Tony.. “HE gets it!” Tony just rolled his eyes, returning to the wiring he had been fiddling with. “Thanks Bruce.” I turned back to him, offering my hand to shake. He took it, smiling widely. “Glad to see somebody’s got my back.” He laughed.

Bruce: “No problem (Y/N).” I released his hand, allowing him to return to the piece of leg he had been looking over.

You: “So.. where can I help?” They both looked at me, lightly confused. “What? I DID design it after all.” I rolled up my sleeves as Tony directed me to the other arm, still attached to the chest piece. As I walked past I slipped the helmet on. “Ok JARVIS, walk me through what they’re doing.” Thankfully the heads-up display still functioned, jumping to life as JARVIS fed me the specs.

JARVIS: “Currently sir, your brother and Dr. Banner are attempting to loosen the strain the physical enhancement system is placing on the electrical current system for the secondary defensive protocols. Open the panel here.” The display isolated a portion of the arm, indicating where I was to start. “Good, now use the screwdriver to pull back this copper plate here, careful not to touch the electrical cable there.” And that’s how we ended up spending most of the night. Just the three of us working in relative silence together on my… our new project. They couldn’t see it, but I was grinning like a madman. This, this felt right.

(Natasha’s POV)

I had originally thought about just walking him in then leaving.. and at first I did, wishing him a good night and turning back down the hallway before he even stepped into the lab. But, something stopped me, making me turn back around. I didn’t go in, instead I watched from the window.. I watched as he slipped on the helmet of his suit, currently sitting in pieces on the table. He started fiddling with the arm as his brother and Dr. Banner messed with the other limbs.  He looked.. happy. His smile had disappeared under the visor, but I knew it was still there.  

Coulson: “Talk about a family moment.” I smirked, turning to face the newest on-looker. Unlike Fury, Coulson wasn’t as silent on his feet. I could always hear him coming. He was looking through the window too, a small smile on his face. “It’s good to see him have some real time with his brother.” He turned to me, still smiling. I cocked my head in question, not entirely sure what he meant. He must have read the confusion because he quickly explained. “He and Tony haven’t seen each other in going on three years. This week was supposed to be a brother bonding get together, it’s good to see they aren’t letting this Loki mess get in the way of that.”

Natasha: “How do you know they hadn’t seen each other in that long?” He smirked.

Coulson: “(Y/N) and I got to know each other quite a bit over the years.. I’d pop by Stark Headquarters every once in a while, always the same thing.. asking him to share the ARC tech with us.” I released a shallow breath through my nose, turning back to look into the window.

Natasha: “At least Fury told you why you were seeing him.. I had to figure it out for myself.” He chuckled lightly.

Coulson: “We both know Director Fury likes to play things close to the vest.. Even I wasn’t aware of why we wanted Stark’s Reactor tech until recently.”

Natasha: “You know?” He turned back to me.

Coulson: “Yeah.. but I’m not at liberty to say.. It’s above your..”

Natasha: “Above my clearance.” I finished for him. “Yeah… I’ve heard that a lot lately.” My eyes fell on the glowing crimson visor encasing (Y/N)’s head, his words suddenly rang in my ears. ‘Always seemed like he had another play… like he was telling you one thing, then telling someone else something entirely different.. all the while having a totally different scheme running in the back of his head.’ I was starting to see what he saw.

Coulson: “It may have been the reason for my visits.. but it isn’t the reason I would stay.” He turned to me, gesturing me to follow him down the hall. “I think we’ve peeked in on him long enough, don’t you think?” I agreed.. but for some reason I didn’t want to leave. Still I followed Coulson, listening to his story. “Despite what Director Fury may tell you about him.. (Y/N) Stark is not a bad person, and he is definitely not a clone of his older brother.”

Natasha: “I could have told you that.” I commented lightly, earning another light chuckle from the agent.

Coulson: “(Y/N) and I would talk for a couple hours whenever Fury would send me to see him. Discussing anything from family, friends, relationships, just about everything was talked about.. except my first name apparently.” I nearly snorted, attempting to keep my laughter at bay.

Natasha: “He never bothered to learn your first name? In three plus years he never once called you anything but Coulson?” He nodded.

Coulson: “I never minded. He did eventually learn it.. after Ms. Potts let it slip the night I gave Tony the packet. He tried calling me Phil that night… It didn’t feel right to me for some reason.” I chuckled, surprised to hear Coulson admitting his own name sounded odd coming from someone. “I guess after so long of being called something, you just can’t be called anything else.”

Natasha: “I suppose..”

Coulson: “From what I hear though.. you and he don’t have that problem.” I looked to him, rather confused by his cryptic statement. “How soon after you met were you on a first name basis?” I paused for a moment.

Natasha: “Less than twelve hours after he landed on the jet.”

Coulson: “Was that your choice? Or his?”

Natasha: “Does it matter? It’s all just a part of the assignment.” I defended quickly. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at, but him knowing that I instigated it likely wouldn’t help.

Coulson: “Right… anything for the mission.” We stopped, and it took me a moment before I realized he had led me to my room. I nodded, silently thanking him for walking me there before I made to open the door. “Natasha.” He stopped me, requesting my attention for a brief moment. “.. He doesn’t get involved with someone unless he actually cares.. He’s not Tony.. If he likes you.. it means he wants something real.” I felt something heavy drop into my stomach.. something I hadn’t anticipated feeling.

Natasha: “So.. what then? I should stop because I might hurt him?” He shook his head.

Coulson: “He isn’t just the other Stark.. too many women find him for that reason alone.. his Stark money.. his Stark pull.. his older brother.. What do you think is going to happen if he finds out Fury put you on him for his Stark tech?” That weight in my stomach grew.. tugging at me to go back down the hall and tell him everything.

Natasha: “Wouldn’t be the first time I broke someone’s heart.. People get hurt all the time.. he’ll get over it.” I opened the door to my room and rushed in, whispering a quick good night before attempting to slide it closed. Coulson caught the door, holding it open and eyeing me hard.

Coulson: “I wasn’t talking about him… I meant what will happen with you.” I was taken aback, surprised that Coulson was assuming I had feelings for (Y/N). Was he right? “Natasha, I’ve over seen plenty of your assignments, briefed and debriefed you on more than a handful of similar targets.. I’ve only ever seen you close with one person.. Barton.” I looked away, the mere mention of Clint’s name causing pain. Knowing he was still under Loki’s control. “It’s the same thing.. yet different. You’re letting yourself get close…. Natasha.” He stated firmly, commanding my attention. My eyes fell back into his, his hard look having dissolved into a soft concerned one. “If I’m right, then I’m glad you found someone other than Barton to trust, that trusts you.. But if he finds out.. I’m worried about what it might do to you.”

Natasha: “……….. what am I supposed to do then?” I murmured. It wasn’t a confirmation of Coulson’s assumption. But it wasn’t exactly a denial either. (Y/N) made it easy for me.. He was polite, energetic, funny, intelligent, easy to talk too, easy to trust. He understood me.. I didn’t have to lie to him about anything.. Everything I’ve told him had been true. Every story I told was true.. Maybe.. maybe I was developing feelings.. “I can’t go back on Fury’s orders.. my ledger..” I looked away again..

Coulson: “I know.. but.. I’m just concerned what this will do to you once this all comes to light.. Now maybe it never does.. Maybe you convince him to see Fury’s point of view and he willingly gives up the ARC tech and whatever else Fury wants.. Maybe he never learns you were assigned to do just that and he just goes on assuming you had no role in it.. then what? You just drop him? Never see him again? Or do you keep seeing him? Build a real relationship and a life together, all the while knowing you started off lying to him?”

Natasha: “Maybe… I can’t tell him the truth.. not now.. he..”

Coulson: “You have a choice Natasha… you always have.. And right now, you have one you need to make.” He released the door, murmuring a short goodnight before disappearing down the hall. The door slid closed, and all I could do was stare at it. I turned, looking over the small, impersonal space.. Then immediately punched the wall, nearly breaking my hand in my sudden burst of anger.

(Your POV)

You: “God Damnit Tony.. kept me up all night.. threw off my whole day… kick his ass with this boot.” I was murmuring to myself admittedly loudly as I made my way to the gym for my morning exercises. I had woken up nearly an hour and a half later than I normally do, had fallen out of bed and twisted my leg the wrong way, and was currently hobbling down the hall with the right leg of my suit slung over my shoulder. “Steal HIS suit, make JARVIS open it up and tear out things.. see how he likes….” I stopped dead at the door, entranced by the vision in front of me. Currently balancing herself on a balance beam on the toe of her left foot, was Natasha. Her right leg held at a 180 degree angle above her head.. Her black sweats and tank top taught against her body.. I was so stunned.. My cane nearly slipped out from under me. I stumbled, sending the leg of my suit to the floor.. right on top of my left foot. The combined sound of the clatter of metal and my loud obscenities must have startled her, because she nearly fell off the beam as I attempted to recover from my likely sprained foot. “IM SO SORRY!” I forced through gritted teeth, having found her startled face as I jumped around on my cane and bad leg.

Natasha: “Are you alright?” She jumped off the beam, rushing to my side to ensure I didn’t tumble over with the leg. She maneuvered me over to one of the benches in the gym, sitting me down to get me off of both legs. The concern she had in her eyes.. it got me lightly flustered.

You: “I’m.. I’m ok, a bit of a bruised ego.. but nothing I can’t handle.” I shot her one of my smirks, or at least tried to through the pain.. Both legs were flaring now. she kneeled down in front of me.

Natasha: “No you’re not.. you twisted your leg.. and you probably at least cracked something in your foot.. What the hell were you doing with that leg anyway?” She gestured to the fallen black leg near the door. I eyed it hatefully.

You: “I wanted to get some practice in with it.. I can’t really do a whole lot with a cane in one hand.. Figured I’d get some REAL training in with both legs.” I eyed my own gnarled leg with hate.. especially as she rolled up my pant leg to get to the scar underneath. “Don’t..” She shot me a glare.

Natasha: “Trust me ok? I know what I’m doing.” I wanted to stop her, but I relented. Allowing her to do whatever it was she wanted to do in that moment. She began working her hands up and down the scar, massaging it at certain points to dissipate the pain. I had to admit, it felt pretty good. No one ever got as close as she was now, I was able to relax a bit. She took notice, smiling up at me as she massaged away the pain. I couldn’t help my smile back.

You: “Thank you.. You don’t have to keep this up, I’m sure I can…” She shot me another glare.

Natasha: “I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t want to..” I relented, raising my hands in surrender and chuckling lightly. She returned to her unofficial job. “How did you do this to yourself anyway?” My smirk faded.

You: “You should already know.. It would be in the file.” She looked up at me confused before realization struck.

Natasha: “Mission 21.” I nodded, confirming her suspicion. “That.. that’s actually been redacted from your file.. Almost completely black.” Now it was my turn to be confused.

You: “I thought they had denied that request?”

Natasha: “Apparently not.. what happened?” She looked up at me, her eyes filled with that curiousness she’s had whenever shed ask me a personal question. Innocent in nature, like a child simply asking why. I looked away..

You: “It isn’t a pretty story..” I felt a hand rest on my cheek. Warm and inviting, it pressed me to look back into her emerald eyes.

Natasha: “Sometimes the memory is worse then what actually happened.” I scoffed lightly..

You: “Not this one.. what actually happened is worse than the memory.” Her smile saddened, a look of understanding crossing her face.

Natasha: “I won’t judge you.” Her hand was still on my cheek, I reached up, taking it into my own. I sighed, relenting in the story.

You: “Mission 21.. Operation Stark.”

*Flash Back*

-Afghanistan (2008)-

Ethan: “Three hours..” I sighed.

You: “Not now Ethan..”

Ethan: “But THREE HOURS.” I turned, finding him and the crew playing a game of poker at the table.. “He could have called.. but noooo.. tells the assistant to do it.” I walked up and slapped him upside the head.. “Abuse!! You all saw it!” He pointed wildly at the others around him, everyone just trained their eyes on their cards.

Charlie: “Nope.. didn’t see a thing.. you see something Sarah?” The only female on the team, Sarah kept her head low and trained on the two cards in her hands.

Sarah: “Nope.. just heard Ethan bitch out loud like always.”

You: “Damn straight.. You could learn a thing or two from the rest of them, jackass.”

Ethan: “You could learn a thing or two neh neh neh.” He mocked.. I rolled my eyes, returning to the cell phone in my hand.

You: “Yeah.. but we both know how he is.. did you really not expect it? Pepper.. please.. well we get paid by the hour for this so we’re not really complaining.. Well of course Ethan is, but you know how he is.” I put my hand over the receiver and leaned to him. “Pepper says hi..” He waved me off, laying his cards on the table.

Ethan: “Read ‘em and weep!! Three Jacks!!” Two in the hand and one on the river.. Jack laid his own hand down.

Jack: “By all means weep, Four Aces bitch!!” He laughed manically as Ethan banged his head against the table.

You: “Serves you right.. Yeah.. Yeah Ethan just lost.. He sucks at poker you know that..” Ethan flipped me off behind my back, Joey slapped him upside the head. “Thank you Joey.” I returned to the phone.. “Well he may not appreciate it.. but I do Pepper.. you know I always have.. by the way did you get the necklace? Great!! I’m so glad you got it.. yeah JARVIS was a big help.. Of course, it is your birthday after all.. What did Tony get you? Well you have wonderful taste I’m sure.. Yeah.. looks like his plane is pulling in now.. if he is I’ll slap him upside the head for you.. Twice if he got Rhodey drunk too. Right.. Again Happy Birthday Pepper.. Bye.” I clicked the phone closed.

Ethan: “Finally!! We get to meet the big one!” I rolled my eyes, walking out of the bunk room with the crew in tow. Sure enough, Tony’s plane had landed and he was currently walking down the ramp, going to shake hands with General Ross.. Me and the crew walked up behind him catching some of the conversation.

Ross: “…We look forward to the weapons presentation. Though If I may say sir, your.. unusual request in security detail was, If I may be frank, unnecessary. The Army is more than capable of providing the best in security.” Even from behind, I could feel Tony rolling his eyes.

Tony: “Yes well, I’ve heard nothing  but the best out of Crimson Squadron.. And since they are currently stationed in Afghanistan.. I figured.. kill two birds with one stone.” I walked up, slapping Tony on the shoulder as I rested my chin on his other one.

You: “Ain’t nepotism grand Thaddaeus?” Tony spun on his heel, gripping me in a tight hug, one I was only too happy to return.

Tony: “(Y/N)!! My god look at you.” He pulled back, eyeing me over. “You look like a tool… A very sleek, deadly, pointy tool.” I rolled my eyes as my team laughed; I was wearing my full tactical gear. From knee high tactical boots to my Kevlar weave chest piece and custom camo gear in between.

You: “Haven’t seen you in two years, and the first thing you call me is a tool.” I slapped his bicep. “Love you too Tony.” He slapped me back, grinning all the while.

Tony: “Has it been two years? Seems longer doesn’t it?” I nodded, grinning along.

You: “Two years.. last time was my 21st birthday in…”
You/Tony: “Singapore.”

Tony: “That’s right.. wow what a trip..”

You: “Wild ride..” We chuckled at the memory, until Charlie came up behind me and tapped my shoulder, clearing his throat. I turned around, finding every member of my team smiling widely, some sheepishly. “Apparently you have a fan club Tony.” I led him up to the team. “Everyone.. This is my older brother.. Tony Stark. Tony.. Everyone.” They all came up, introducing themselves, some fawning over the infamous weapons maker.. Everyone, except Ethan. “Charlie..” He turned to me. ‘Where’s Ethan? Thought he was most excited to meet Tony?” Charlie shrugged.

Charlie: “Got a call, said he’d meet us at the Humvee’s.” Odd.. still I accepted it, forgetting Ethan’s unusual disappearance when I caught sight of the plane’s other passenger.

You: “Rhodey!!” James Rhodes was walking down the ramp, holding his head lightly, his formal uniform lightly askew. He perked up when he heard me call, rushing down the rest of the way with a smile on his face to greet me.

Rhodey: “(Y/N)!! How goes it kiddo? Damn look at you!! Lookin every bit the badass I knew you were.” I smiled, much preferring his compliment to Tony’s.

You: “Doing fantastic, Crimson Squad has been treating me great. Lovin Life as a Marine.. What about you? They stick you behind a desk yet?” He rolled his eyes, laughing lightly at the joke.

Rhodey: “Not yet.. not from lack of tryin though I’ll tell you that.” He rubbed the temple of his head lightly.. I knew that look..

You: “How much booze did he stuff down your throat?” I cocked my eyebrow as he looked away sheepishly. He held up a single finger.

Rhodey: “Made me do one Saki shot.. The rest of it was my own doing..” I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose as I shook my head.

You: “leave it to Tony… Are you going to be ok for the demonstration?” He nodded, still holding his head lightly.

Rhodey: “As I’ll ever be.. I’m gonna go change.. and find some Aspirin.”

You: “You do that…” I patted him on the shoulder as he walked off, suitcase in hand. Six of my seven crew had effectively surrounded Tony, asking him every question they could think of.. Never failed.. He always was the center of attention.  The following four hours, they flew by in a blur.

Tony: “They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire ONCE. That’s how Dad did it. That’s how America does it.. And it’s worked out pretty well so far.” Tony gave the go ahead, and I started up the targeting system, targeting the mountain range behind out improvised stage.. If there was one benefit to being his brother.. It was that Tony always let me play with the coolest toys. With the press of a button, one of the missiles let loose, flying at incredible speeds to Its impending target. It split in midair, firing one dozen smaller missiles at the mountain spread. “For your consideration… The Jericho.” The shockwave of the multiple blasts was intense, reaching us in a matter of seconds and knocking several of Rhodey’s subordinates on their asses. I was proud to say not a single member of Crimson Squad fell, they barely blinked.  Once the dust settled, Tony immediately went up the cooler he had brought along, fixing himself a drink. Time to go.

You: “Alright kiddies, in the Humvees, were heading back.” Six of the seven saluted me before heading for their respective cars. Ethan was once again noticeably absent. When asked, Charlie had mentioned he had already hopped into the first car, rearing to go apparently. “You ride with him, Jack, Joey and Spence. Sarah, Jimmy and I will ride back with Tony.”

Charlie: “You got it boss.” He walked ahead, rounding up those that would be riding in the head car. I walked up to Tony, finding him on his phone.

Tony: “Obi, what are you doing up?”

You: “is that uncle Obi?” Tony turned, smiling and handing the phone over.

Obadiah: “Hey! If it isn’t my favorite Stark!” I rolled my eyes at the decades old nickname. Still I smiled, happy to see my oldest friend.

You: “Great to see you too Obi.. Tony’s right, why aren’t you asleep? Isn’t it like two in the morning there?” He chuckled.

Obadiah: “Yeah but I couldn’t sleep till I found out how it went. We make any sales?” I looked up from the phone, eyeing all the potential buyers of the newest missile. I turned back to the screen, grinning.

You: “Definitely.. Christmas is coming early.. Tony put on a show, as expected and I’m pretty certain it only helped the pitch.. I’m eye balling, maybe three off the lot by the end of the
hour.. Another fifteen by the end of the week.”

Obadiah: “That’s what I’ve always liked about you (Y/N). You know business. I don’t know why you joined the Marines when you could have just as easily come to work for your brother and me.” I scoffed, waving him off.

You: “I don’t think you needed another Stark running around the office Obi… You’ve already lost your hair to Tony I didn’t want you blaming me for your beard.” I smirked as he shook his head at the joke.

Obadiah: “Good night (Y/N).” He ended the call, I handed the phone back to Tony as we piled into the hummer.

Rhodey: “Hey Tony, (Y/N)!!” Rhodey came up as the doors to the car closed. Tony stuck his head out the window.

Tony: “I’m sorry this is the Fun-Vee. The Hum-Drum-Vee is back there.” He chuckled and I couldn’t help the smile crawling across my face.

Rhodey: “Nice job.. both of you.”

You: “See you back at base Rhodes.” He waved, walking back to the Hummer behind us. “We’re packed.. Sarah let’s go.” She hit the gas, pulling away after the hummer ahead of us holding the other five members of my squad. I never knew it would be the last time I saw them.
Half an hour later, a bit liquored up myself thanks to Tony’s shared scotch. I was holding Jimmy’s camera, him having wanted to take a picture with Tony, as the posed, Ethan’s Hummer was hit.. a RPG connecting with the engine, flipping the wreckage as it burst open in fire.

Sarah: “Contact Left!!” I slipped my visor on, engaging the thermo-system to locate the bastards that shot my team. I turned, jabbing at Jimmy.

You: “You.. Stay here and guard him.” I pulled a small pistol from the glove compartment, handing it to Tony. “He’ll take good care of you.. But just in case.” Tony nodded as I burst out of the Hummer with Sarah. Pulling an AR-15 with me. “C.B. to base we need pick-up, package has been hit.” I called into the mic in the visor. All I heard was static. “Anyone on the comm? This is C.B. calling back-up.. Package has been hit.. where the hell is my escort!?” I looked around, near every hummer was either in a flaming wreck or turned over on the road.. Radicalists flanking us from all sides. I shot as many as I could, taking out at least fifteen before the rifle was knocked from my hand in a RPG blast. I was knocked to my back as more of them came out from behind the dunes.. I turned, finding Sarah on the floor behind the hummer, dead. I stood, lightly dazed when I saw Tony stumble out of the car, still holding that gun. He fired it off wildly. “Tony!! Get back in the car!!” He looked at me, then ran to me as fast as he could. Then, a small missile came out of nowhere, landing right in front of him. “NO!!” I charged, trying to get him out of the blast area.. but I wasn’t fast enough. The missile discharged sending shrapnel everywhere. I was able to absorb the brunt of it.. taking most in the leg.. But some still got to Tony.

Tony: “(Y/N).” I turned as best I could, my leg bleeding profusely. Tony had opened up his shirt, blood pooling up from underneath his bullet-proof vest. His head fell back, unconscious.

You: “Tony? Tony!?” I crawled up to him as best I could, fighting the pain in my leg.. “Tony don’t you do this to me.. you stupid son of a bitch wake up!!” I shook him, trying to get him to open his eyes, when something large came around my field of vision and hit be across the face. I cracked the visor, sending shards of crimson glass flying and the digital display into a glitchy frenzy. I barely had a chance to register what happened before someone walked up, and struck me across the face again. Knocking me out.

*Present Day*

(Natasha’s POV)

You: “I woke up three days later, in a hospital in the U.K. They had pulled all the shrapnel from my leg, but the damage to my Tibia and Fibula was pretty extensive.” He gestured down the scar, I had stopped rubbing at it, absorbed in the story as I was. “General Ross greeted me.. handing me the discharge papers the moment I woke.. ‘Dishonorable’ stamped across the front in bold red.. Apparently.. letting all seven of my subordinates die.. drinking on the job.. losing Tony on a special request, joint-security mission was enough to give Ross the leverage to have me discharged.” He bowed his head, hiding his eyes as best he could from me. “I spent.. three months thinking my brother had died.. on my watch.. Three months I spent cut off from the world in Tony’s Malibu house.. When he came home.. I was happy.. but it didn’t change what happened.. He came home with a nightlight in his chest.. and it was my fault.” I stood on my knees, cupping his chin and gently directing his eyes to mine. Lightly reddened (E/C) eyes met my green ones.

Natasha: “It wasn’t your fault..” He closed his eyes, sighing heavily.

You: “Yes it was.. I was cocky.. arrogant.. far too proud to see what was right in front of me.. Took me almost twenty years to see Stane for what he was.. To see what the lack of involvement on the missions was doing to the team.. making them sloppy, dependent. Fury…” He sighed angrily.. “He took advantage of my grief.. He came to me.. offering me for the last time to join S.H.E.I.L.D. ‘We can make you better.. stronger.. We can find your brother.. we just need you to join’. That bastard took what I thought was he moment I had lost everything.. and tried to use it to get me to join.” His eyes opened, meeting mine again. “I could have had it fixed sure.. but I didn’t.. This.. this is a message to NEVER let myself get that cocky again.. Never.” He gestured down to the leg again.. I didn’t look, instead keeping my gaze trained on his eyes.

Natasha: “You don’t have to be that strong anymore. No one expects that of you.. Not Tony, not Fury.. me.” He looked at me confused.. “I don’t expect you to be strong.. I expect you to be.. you.” He still looked confused.

You: “What do you me..” I didn’t let him finish, instead I did something quite possibly, utterly stupid. I leaned in, and kissed him deeply.
Chapter five.. A little bit of history.. and something new?
As always let me know what you think in the comments.. and tell me how you think Tony is gonna take this.
I don't own Marvel, the Avengers, the images used, or you.
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IrisDaffyn Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
SINGAPORE!!!!1!1!!11!!!
I'm sorry, it's just that I feel like my little country doesn't have that much recognition outside it's own country so I'm a little hyped haha
It's a nice thing to go along with this amazing story :D
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:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017
Thank you!
ANd your welcome apparently!
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:iconignoblefiend:
IgnobleFiend Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017
Awesome. :D

Ross and Fury, two asshole peas in a pod. -_-
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:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2017
Glad you like!!

tell me about it.. 
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:iconignoblefiend:
IgnobleFiend Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2017
The back story on the D-Discharge was well done, and left reason for some serious emotional and psychological damage on Reader Character, while the Talk between the agents made for a nice moment between the two, and help Natalia get some things figured out. :D

Brother bonding moment was a plus too. :meow:
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:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2017
It's always great to have this kind of feedback, especially since this USB just a Natashaxreader fic. But a tonyxreader fic too.

i always felt that coulson was a good man, and kind of embodied what any normal person may do in the position he was in. Trying to be friends with everyone while also trying to balance out his duties, while also fan-boying a little around his idol.
as for the discharge back story. I'm definitely happy with how I was able to tie the reader into the Jericho incident, but I feel there maybe be more to pull from it. Not just in this fic but in 'Starks stick together' as well. Given that SST is told entirely front Tony's perspective, I think I could touch a bit on how this affected him too.
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:iconignoblefiend:
IgnobleFiend Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2017
:D
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:iconxxxdeadshotxxx:
XxxDeadshotxxX Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017
Go Phil 
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:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017
Hell yeah go Phil. Awesome guy!
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:iconboopydoopy111:
Boopydoopy111 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017
Awesome
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:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017
Glad you like!!
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Submitted on
July 17, 2017
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