avengers: natasha and hawkeye

Avengers Ficlet: Budapest (Natasha/Clint)

Title: Budapest
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Natasha/Clint
Summary: In Budapest, Natasha knew her enemies and the man fighting beside her. She doesn't get that certainty often.
Notes: for redbrunja, who left the prompt "pining," and yeomanrand, who wanted to know what happened in Budapest.



In Budapest, she knows her enemies, and she knows the man fighting beside her.

They are surrounded, taking shelter behind a burning car that she hopes to god doesn't explode -- at least, not until she lures the Red Room operatives close enough to go down with her. The cobblestones dig into her knees as she kneels on the ground; laundry flaps on the lines overhead, a reminder that moments ago, this had been an ordinary day. Behind them is a dead-end alleyway, no escape for her but no backdoor for her attackers either. They are out numbered and out gunned, and they are probably going to die.

It's a good place for a last stand: a little like her mother land, but not enough to be poetic. She'll go fast, a bullet from a distant assailant. And if it's slow, if they come for her, she'll put her gun to her head. This is not the death she fears, not when every shot she fires claims one of the operatives who trained her. Red Room knew her well: only the ones who taught her could hope to kill her, and they would, but every bullet from her gun was a little less red in her ledger.

She could die happy here, except she's not alone. The arrows singing through the air remind her that he's here, as if she could ever really forget. They fight back to back; she feels his warmth and the quick, steady release of his muscles behind her, strange because it's become so familiar. If she dies, he does too. And if he survives, he blames himself because he hasn't learned that sentiment is for children. He's fighting to keep her alive, so she has to fight for that too.

"Cover me," she says, and then she's running across the street. The gunman at the corner goes down before he fires a shot. There's an operative waiting for her behind a flowerpot, but Natasha knows better than to be surprised, knows better than to think before she fires. Yelena Drakova falls before her, more red in her ledger, but to keep Clint alive, it doesn't matter.

The fight their way up the block, killing Red Room operatives one by one, stealing guns and ammo when they run out of bullets. At a railroad crossing, they jump on a train bound for Bucharest and freedom, and they sleep in shifts in a boxcar, hip-to-hip and shoulder-to-shoulder.

Afterward, she pines for Budapest. Not for the Soviet apartment blocs that ring the suburbs, not for the food that tastes a little like something from her distant past. It's the certainty she craves, the certainty of knowing her enemy and the man at her back and the red flowing bullet by bullet from her ledger.

Years later, when she stands in the rubble of Manhattan, watching alien motorbikes soar out of a portal in the sky, it's hard not to smile when she says, "Budapest all over again."

He doesn't know what she means, but she promises to keep them both alive so she can tell him.
Tags:
I'm happy you inspired it too! I was determined to figure out what happened in Budapest - I just needed another litlte puzzle piece to get it started.
::applause::

This is great! I really love that paragraph about pining for Budapest in particular. The whole thing is so very true to Natasha.
Thank you! Writing my favorite characters is always so intimidating; it means a lot that you think I got her right.
I love how she asks Clint to cover her and then goes to handle business because she *knows* he's got her back. Great fic!
THIS WAS THE ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I SAID AFTER WALKING OUT OF THE THEATER! I squeed in general and then said, omg, have to have Black Widow & Hawkeye prequel! I have to know what happened in Budapest. Then when mei mei came over later after seeing the film she said something similar about wanting that movie and we both exclaimed WHAT HAPPENED IN BUDAPEST?! in unison. So obviously this fic was an immediate bookmark for me. :)

I love the stuff with the ledger and how it goes up and down. I love that only the ones who trained her could kill her. I loved the details about laundry and the food and the train.

It's the certainty she craves, the certainty of knowing her enemy and the man at her back and the red flowing bullet by bullet from her ledger.

Years later, when she stands in the rubble of Manhattan, watching alien motorbikes soar out of a portal in the sky, it's hard not to smile when she says, "Budapest all over again."

He doesn't know what she means, but she promises to keep them both alive so she can tell him.


And holy crap, that's amazing. It was already a great story but I don't think I breathed for that whole last section, so blown away by its awesomeness I was!

Also WHY do I have no Avengers icons? *pouts*