Categories > Movies > Marvel Cinematic Universe

The bowstring snaps

by A_Em 0 reviews

In that moment of weakness he swept her legs and, when she lost her footing, wrestled her down, his elbow on her throat. “Tell my family I love them.” She grabbed his shoulder, twisting it do...

Category: Marvel Cinematic Universe - Rating: G - Genres: Angst - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2023-12-05 - 1936 words - Complete

“In order to take the Stone, you must lose that which you love. An everlasting exchange. A soul for a soul.”

Clint huddled closer.
"Maybe he’s full of shit," he said, throwing venomous glare at the hooded figure.
Natasha shook her head.
"I don’t think so."
"Why, because he knew your daddy’s name?" he snarked.
"I didn’t. Thanos left here with the stone, and without his daughter. That’s not a coincidence.” Everyone coming back? It sounded too much like a dream from the beginning. There is always some sacrifice, she knew that too well. Clint’s quiet “Yeah” told her he understood as well.
Universe doesn’t like unpaid debts.

“Whatever it takes…" she muttered under her breath.
"Whatever it takes…" Clint echoed.

She looked at him with a grim expression and got back up.
"If we don’t get the stone, billions of people are going to stay dead."
There is no other way. This is a goodbye. went unsaid.

He turned his head, not meeting her eyes.
"Then I guess we both know who it has to be."
"Yeah. Guess we do."

She grabbed his outstretched hand and hold it tight, hoping the feeling of his warm skin and heartbeat would give her courage to do what had to be done.

Wouldn't that be the perfect end? She knew better than anyone how hard it was to wash the blood away. This isn't a redemption, she clenched his palm harder, but I could gift him a second chance.
It was simple, really. Things would be okay without her. There were enough killers in the world, what's one less? Kind people were the ones that were needed after the war was over.
She was a lot of things. Kind was not one of them.
Natasha looked up from their joined hands and saw the mirror of her thoughts in Clint's eyes. She cursed silently.

He send her his stupid smile.
"I’m starting to think we mean different people here, Natasha."
She furiously shook her head, this is not how this was going to end, she just got him back-
"For the last five years, I’ve been trying to do one thing - get to right here. This is all it’s been about, bringing everybody back." She was prepared to die, surely more that he did, who was going to mourn her?
"Do not get all decent on me-"
"You think I want to do it? I’m trying to save your life, you idiot-" she hissed.
"And I don’t want you to.” Natasha gulped. Why can’t he just understand- “Nat. You know what I’ve done. What I am now. Your life’s worth ten of mine-"
"I don’t judge people by their worst mistakes-"
"Maybe you should-"
"You didn’t,” she said. Like their situations were ever on the same level. Even another five years of his misguided revenge quest wouldn’t even bring him close to the amount of innocent blood on her hands. But it seemed to do the trick. Clint’s shoulders slumped, the resignation clear on his face. How did it feel to be hit with your own words back?
"You’re a pain in my ass, you know that?” come his voice, something softening in his eyes. “Alright. You win.”
Hearing that, Natasha finally relaxed. Maybe she could protect what mattered this time.

In that moment of weakness he swept her legs and, when she lost her footing, wrestled her down, his elbow on her throat.
“Tell my family I love them.”
She grabbed his shoulder, twisting it downside, quickly pushed him off her and pinned him to the ground.
“Tell them yourself,” she said and fired her sting.
Natasha turned away from his convulsing body and without looking back bolted for the cliff.

And that’s when all went wrong.

Out of the two of them she was always stronger, faster, more agile. More merciless.
But it was like none of this mattered when taser arrow connected to her back, the excruciating pain of electricity running through her chest - He knew how to be ruthless too.
Natasha wasted precious seconds trying to get the damned thing off her and when she finally sprung back to action to her horror it was already too late.
Were she anyone else, it wouldn't look as bleak: Clint was still on the ground, still closer to her than the edge.
But for the master assassin, trained since little child to perfectly analyze any situation and estimate her chances on a flash, the gap could be stretching for kilometers.
She won’t make it.

Her body was already on the move, desperately trying to outran grave certainty forming in her head. Please, screamed every muscle, let me be wrong, just this once!

When Clint jumped off the side she followed right behind.
If she could just reach the cable shooter on his belt…

But she couldn’t get the right momentum. Now they were both falling at the same speed, she right above him, but still so, so far away. All she could do was outstretch her arm as far as possible without loosing speed and hope she would manage to reach his in time.
The second she gripped the leather her cable was already shot. The tug and following slam on the rocks knocked the air out of her lungs, dark spots dancing before her eyes. Natasha gritted her teeth through the pain and maintained the hold on both Clint and their lifeline.
She looked down to see how he was faring. Her trembling fingers made her worry he could slip at any moment, but he wasn’t falling anymore.

"Natasha, please."
The clear plea in his gentle voice made it even more painful to hear.
"You are not going anywhere," she responded with steel. She tried to find her footing on the steep slope, but with one hand full of Clint it was futile. She felt like sobbing. "What would I say to Laura?"
“I’m sorry.”

Sudden pain made Natasha hiss and instinctively loosen her grip. He broke out of it with a jolt and before she could say another word the fog under the cliff swallowed him whole.
She suppressed the reflex to dive after him. There was nothing to be done anymore. With the strength she didn’t know the source of she lifted herself to more stable ground and began climbing.

She was hovering over groaning Clint, trying to choke back laughter.
“You know, most people would just take stairs”
“How was I supposed to know this roof was made of some shitty cardboard? It looked solid from above...” He tried to get up and immediately regretted it. “Oooow, I think I broke a rib or two...”

Natasha carefully moved her hand to get a solid grip above. Then she shifted more of her weight on the left foot and tested the strength of the lower shelf. Satisfied with the result she climbed the next few meters. She looked down, trying to estimate how much cable was left. Normally she would just retrieve the rope every time she reached more stable ground but slamming to the side of a cliff must have damage the pull-in mechanism.

She rolled her eyes.
“What a baby. Come on,” She crouched next to him and offered a shoulder to lean on. “lets get you to the medbay. The work’s done here anyway.”
“I’m in immerse pain right now Tasha! A little compassion would be nice!” He gave her his second best pouty face but accepted help regardless.
“Like I’m going to give even more attention to the guy who successfully infiltrated Blair’s secret lair, blow up his whole server, took down several heavy armored mercenaries, run away with all the data and then decided that rather than just walk the stairs to the van waiting right next to the building ‘it would be quicker’ to jump on the next roof-”
“Well it was quicker...”
“I told you it doesn't look very sturdy. To which you replayed-"
"I thought we were friends Natasha..."
"-that you ‘jumped off a lot of rooftops’ and then acted all surprised when it gave in and you ended up three floors below.”

Finally the cable run out. She pulled the knife out and cut it right at the beginning. From now on she had to go without safety net.
She glanced down and shivered. The ground still was covered in fog so it was impossible to estimate how long the distance was. From all she knew the bottom could be kilometers away.
Natasha used all her willpower in order to not imagine how one would look after falling all the way down.
She picked up a pace. For a while it went without a hitch until she found herself at the edge of large overhang.
She looked for some way around. On her left the wall seemed less steep; the problem was the distance and general lack of good grips. In order to pull herself there she needed to place most of her weight on a small crag below.
Unsure of how good it would hold her, she placed one foot on it and shifted her stance. The rocks creaked worryingly but she decided it had to be enough.

He mumbled something under his breath.
“What was that? I’m afraid I didn’t quite hear you.”
“Well, maybe you were right. About the roof, I mean. It wasn’t sturdy at all.”
“Interesting. Will it make you listen to me more in the future?”
“Tasha. Love. It’s like you don’t know me at all.”
She let out small chuckle at that. He will never know how panicked she was when she heard him crashing on the bottom.
She doubted the first look at his still body from above would ever leave her.

Not with her luck.
Suddenly feet were in the air, making her grip on the chock above the only thing preventing her for falling. She couldn’t count on it for long, even now she could feel the rock slowly moving out of its crack. She took deep breath and looked around. Maybe if she leaped far enough she could grab that protruding spike on her left and from there descend onto larger shelf?
Not seeing any better option, Natasha braced herself. Her legs’ muscles tensed, ready to bounce. She fixed the grip on her last anchor, folded up like a spring and jumped forward. She hissed when her skin grazed on sharp rocks.
A white light emitting from the bottom of the abyss engulfed her halfway.


The water was soaking her clothes. Natasha slowly opened her eyes, cursing the fog covering her thoughts. Did I fall?
She tried to sit up when the heat in her left hand finally caught her attention. She unclenched her sore fingers one at a time and looked down.
The orb-like yellow gem laying inside shimmered cruelly, as if laughing at her.

Natasha stared wordlessly at the stone, all thoughts frozen. She didn't know how long she stayed like that. It didn't matter. Did anything even matter anymore?

Oh course it does, she chastised herself. He's dead. You're not. Get up. You still have a job to do. People to save.

She gritted her teeth and reached for the communicator to call the ship. She got the stone. She needed to go back to others.
There will be time for tears later.

He's dead. You're not.
Don't waste it.
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