avengers: natasha and hawkeye

Avengers/HP Crossover: Rise and Join a New Order (Natasha/Clint)

Title: Rise and Join a New Order
Rating: Teen
Characters/Pairings: Clint/Natasha, Albus Dumbledore
Summary: Natasha Romanov is the Dark Lord's best assassin...until she's sent to kill Clint Barton, a member of the Order of the Phoenix.
Content Advisory: One scene of magical torture that may be a touch more graphic than the books
Notes: For sugar_fey, who wanted an AU where Clint and Natahsa were members of the Order of the Phoenix

Read on AO3


Natasha hugs the cold rock wall. Wind tugs at her hair. Her muscles ache and quiver; her fingernails are broken and bleeding. She climbs steadily upward anyway, keeping her eyes on the small square of light emanating from Dumbledore's office high above her.

Dumbledore's window opens. Natasha reaches toward the wand in her back pocket, but her grip on the wall is precarious. For one terrifying second she's plunging downward, no handhold in sight, and then, with a jerk, she stops. Fingers shaking, she reaches toward the stones. Her feet skitter against the rocks until she finds a hold. The invisible force that had saved her life is still there -- she can feel it behind her -- but it doesn't stop her from moving.

An ancient, bearded face peers out the window.

"Ms. Romanov, I've been expecting you for some time," Dumbledore says, looking amused. "I do admire your ingenuity, though you may have found it somewhat easier to enter the castle through the front door." He opens the window wider. "Do come in and have a cup of tea. From the look of things, you've had quite an exhausting day."

Then Dumbledore retreats, leaving her to climb.

***


Natasha doesn't touch her tea. One sip of Veritaserum and all her secrets are gone, and with them her only chance to bargain. Her hands shake as she raises her hip flask to her lips, and she hates herself for showing weakness.

"How did you know I was here?" she asks, even though she knows Dumbledore is too shrewd to answer.

"The castle holds many secrets," he says simply. "You did penetrate several layers of the wards, however. Most impressive work."

He sounds like a school master praising a student for an answer that isn't quite right.

"But you let me wander your grounds and climb your towers. Why?" She has no right to interrogate him, but the questions restore a modicum of illusory control over the situation.

"You were being watched quite closely. Had you attempted to do any harm to Hogwarts or its inhabitants, you would not have succeeded," Dumbledore says placidly.

He'd wanted to send her a message, then: to prove he had no fear of the Dark Lord's secret assassin, and to catch her off guard perhaps. To let her believe she had the upper hand, when actually her only proof of her good intentions -- that she had secretly entered the castle and harmed no one -- meant nothing.
Dumbledore's eyes bore into hers, but she doesn't let her mental shields waver, even if she should. One quick legilimens from Dumbledore would prove her sincerity, but she had decided already that her mental integrity was the one thing she wouldn't surrender.

"Let us consider the facts of the situation, shall we, Ms. Romanoff?" Dumbledore says, sipping his tea. "You have defied Voldemort, and in desperation you have come to me. Perhaps you believed you could prove the purity of your intentions by sneaking into Hogwarts and harming no one; perhaps you simply wished to test the castle's defenses for your own purposes. In either case, a sincere request for help would have been more persuasive. Am I to trust you because you spared Mr. Barton's life this morning, when you have taken the lives of so many of our order?"

"Barton said you were fair. He said you would know I never got a real chance to be another person." Her eyes flutter around the room, taking in the order and serenity. Barton had been right; she might have been a different person if she had grown up here.

"Ah yes." Dumbledore leans back in his chair, steepling his fingers. "The secret daughter of Bellatrix Lestrange and Igor Karkaroff, given up to Voldemort in her infancy, trained in the Dark Arts from birth, schooled in wilds of Albania in the hopes of his return. Am I to believe that you simply decided today to become a new and better person?"

Natasha snorts. "The time for that is past." Barton hadn't lied; this cozy office, filled with fascinating magical relics, speaks of a better life than she'd known. But he'd been wrong to think she could ever belong in it, and Dumbledore isn't a man to be bought with promises of servility anyway. "Here is my bargain: everything I know about the Dark Lord in exchange for a quick death."

***


Eight Hours Earlier

Natasha enjoys picking apart the wards surrounding Barton's house. She's been at it for four hours now, inching through the tall heather that surrounds his cottage as she slowly breaks the spells. His magic is devious and inventive, and idly she wonders if the Dark Lord would let her make a pet of him. They'd make a good team. It's a shame she has to kill him, but at least he'll put up a good fight, she thinks. Nothing like Emmeline Vance last night.

Natasha isn't disappointed. Barton is standing at the stove when she blasts through the cottage door. His wand isn't in his hand, but he flings a pot of boiling water at her face with startling accuracy. She ducks, and his Muggle-style kick catches her in the mid-section, knocking her breath away before she can utter a curse. Not that she needs words to do magic. She points her wand; purple flames engulf Barton's legs, climbing slowly toward his face.

Barton curses and points his wand at the flames. They detach themselves from his body, and with another wand flick, they fling themselves at Natasha. Waves of hot and cold pulse through her body; her muscles quiver and cramp. But Natasha invented this curse, and she won't be undone by her own magic. With a single whispered incantation, the flames die.

They duel until the sun is low in the sky. Ragged holes in the roof let in golden light. The walls are scorched, the floor covered with deep, jagged gouges. Barton lies on the floor at the mercy of her wand. Blood trickles from his mouth, his right eye is blackening, and he holds his arm at an awkward angle. Natasha doubts she looks much better -- except that she's won. The best decision is to kill him now; leaving dangerous opponents alive, even to torture them, is an invitation to trouble. But the Dark Lord does love a show, and his orders had been clear.

She leans back in one of Barton's kitchen chairs and flicks her wand toward him lazily. "Crucio."

In Natasha's experience, people usually scream for their mothers under torture. Husbands, wives, and gods are a close second. Everyone begs, even the people who swear they never would. But Barton talks.

"You're great, you know." His slurred words make him sound like a drunken suitor. "Clever. Tough. Wish I could stay alive just to fight you over and over again."

Me too, Natasha thinks. She says, "People like us so rarely get what they want. Crucio."

Barton chuckles even as his body twists. "Ain't that the truth. My mom gave me away too, you know. To the fucking circus. Can you believe that?"

"If your Muggle whore of a mother gave you away, it's no concern of mine. And you know nothing of my mother." Natasha realizes she's standing up, her wand inches from Barton's face.

"My mom wasn't a Muggle. Or a whore for that matter. Just a slut. She didn't charge." Barton rolls over and spits out a bloody tooth, then smiles up at her with a broken grin. "And your mother is Bellatrix Lestrange. Did you really think changing your surname would fool us?"

"Crucio." Natasha's aim is wide; the floor splinters and cracks as Barton's body writhes beneath her.

"Don't know what kind of life I would've had if Dumbledore hadn't found me on my eleventh birthday." Barton's body is heaving, his voice coming in a desperate little rasp. One of his writhing hands clenches around her ankle, and Natasha tries to shake it off, but his muscles are too rigid. "Dumbledore looked for you too, you know. He didn't think it was fair for you to grow up as a weapon."

"Enough." Natasha steps back, raising her wand. This show has lasted long enough.

Clint chuckles softly. "You have to mean it, Nat."

Without meaning to, she looks at his bloody, bruised, smiling face.

"I know you don't mean it," he says. "Maybe you did for the others, but not for me."

Her wand has slipped. She raises it again, pointing it at his heart. In that second, Barton rises unsteadily to his feet. He steps in close to her, so close that she thinks he might kiss her. Instead, he reaches around her and plucks his wand from the table without ever taking his eyes of her face.

"Thanks," he says. "I owe you one." And then he disappears with a crack.

Natasha stares at the empty place where he used to be. Understanding dawns. She thinks of the Dark Lord awaiting her mission report, the things he does to people who defy him. Her whole body shakes.

She starts to run. Hogwarts is far away, but if she can reach it by sunrise, maybe she won't have to die screaming.

***


Natasha awakens on a cold stone floor. Light filters through a dirty window near the ceiling. Dimly she registers that she's bound and tied in Hogwarts' dungeon, and this must be uncomfortable, but her mind feels loose and peaceful. Veritaserum, she thinks. She had told Dumbledore everything, then. She wonders if he'll keep up his half of the bargain, but it's hard to care.

The door creaks open. Natasha sees black boots on the floor. She hopes they'll untie her before they execute her, but she can't find the will to ask.

Barton kneels on the floor beside her and begins to untie her bonds. She hadn't expected to be killed by the man she'd spared, but then, she can't complain -- it's still a far kinder fate than she'd allowed most of her enemies.

"Want some water?" he asks. There's a tray on the floor beside him with chicken soup, salad, and a pitcher of water. She hadn't seen him bring it in.

"I'm really thirsty," she says dumbly. She hadn't meant to, but the serum hasn't worn off completely yet.

The glass slips from her numb fingers and spills down the front of her shirt. Barton takes it from her and holds it to her lips, like a mother would for a child. Or so she imagines anyway -- she'd never known her mother, and if she had, she doubts Bellatrix would have been so kind.

"It's a public execution then," she says, staring at the tray of food. Dumbledore will want to feel humane, and he'll want her to look strong and healthy so his people will believe in his kindness.

"What?" Barton drops the glass onto the tray with a clatter. "We don't do that kind of thing here."

"Oh. Well, if you've come to kill me, there's' no need to feed me first." Barton is still moving stiffly. She thinks of him writhing on the floor last night, and the words tumble out with the help of the Veritaserum. "I hardly deserve that from you. If you could just help me stand up, I'd be grateful."

Barton speaks to her slowly, as if to a child. "No one is going to kill you, Natasha. I told you, Dumbledore is a fair man. He knows you didn't get a chance to choose who are."

Natasha stares at him dumbly. "I don't understand."

Barton flashes her the same twisted grin he'd given her last night. "Well, either he's a fair man or a twisted bastard who figures living is better punishment than dying ever will be. I'm not sure which, to tell you the truth."

He holds out a big, calloused hand and pulls her to the feet. "Either way, you're one of us now. Welcome to the team."