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Can't Handle This

Chapter 19

Clint’s pancakes were, as per usual, a delicious success. Pamplemousse sat between Toni and Bruce, preparing for the delicacy.

“These are the best pancakes you’ll ever have, Pamplemousse,” Toni said with a sleepy smile. “You won’t want any other kind after this.”

The young girl smiled as she loaded the rest of her plate with fruit, toast, and bacon. “I can’t wait!”

“I wonder where Brooke is,” CJ said as she put a slice of bacon in her mouth. “It’s not like her to be late like this.”

Just then, as if on cue, Brooke walked into the kitchen. Toni gasped and dropped her fork, causing a resounding clang as Pamplemousse froze and CJ choked on her bacon.

Brooke smoothed her muted pink sundress and cleared her throat nervously. “Morning,” she mumbled self-consciously. She itched her nose where her piercings should have been and bit her lip where her lip rings used to be.

She slowly, almost cautiously, walked towards the coffee machine. She grabbed a mug, grabbed the pot, and froze suddenly. She stood there staring at the coffee pot in her hand for a minute or two before setting down her mug and removing her hand from the liquid gold.

Before anybody could say anything, Brooke grabbed one of the large plates and stacked three pancakes on the side. She looked at Pamplemousse’s plate and mimicked what the young girl had put on hers; a helping of fruit, two slices of toast, and four strips of thick, juicy bacon.

“Brooke, aren’t you a vegetarian?” Natasha asked from across the table.

The teen didn’t respond as she sat down next to Steve. “Good morning,” she mumbled softly.

Brooke grabbed a fork and started to eat the pancakes. “These are really good, Clint,” she said in his general direction. “I can’t remember having better.”

Then, Brooke grabbed a piece of bacon off her plate. She looked at it, almost in disgust. What was she supposed to do with this? Eat it? Looking like she might throw up any second, Brooke moved the meat closer to her mouth, opened wide and….

“Brooke, stop!” Toni finally shouted, making the black-haired girl jump and drop the bacon strip. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t understand what you mean,” she said daintily.

“You’re wearing a dress, for one. You never wear dresses. You took out all your piercings, which haven’t left your face longer than a few minutes since they were put in. You didn’t grab a cup of coffee, you didn’t make any snide remarks, you’re actually eating for once, and you almost trashed your five year vegetarian ways. What’s going on?”

Brooke stared at her friend and felt tears well up. She looked at Pamplemousse, who was looking at her from under her bangs. “Why haven’t you said anything?” she asked, trying to keep herself together.

The young one looked around, desperate for an easier way to say what was on her mind. “Rule number 22,” she mumbled as if she were in trouble. “Don’t talk to Brooke before she’s had her coffee.”

Brooke sighed in defeat and wiped her eyes. “I felt too different,” she said with her regular voice. “I felt like I wasn’t normal enough for the group.”

Clint started to chuckle slightly under his breath, only to start full on giggling at the absurd statement.

“What the hell is so funny?” she demanded.

“You!” he said between giggles. “You think we’re normal?


Tony started to giggle a little too, as if the laughter was truly contagious. Soon after Tony started, Natasha joined in.

“We’re anything but normal!” she howled. “That’s a compliment!”

Brooke looked around, feeling slightly self-conscious. All of the Avengers were laughing at her now.

“What we mean,” Bruce said, trying to calm down from his laughing fit. “Is that you don’t realize how not-normal we are. I mean, I turn into, as Tony mentioned when we first met, a green rage monster. That’s not exactly normal.”

“And I’m an American icon that lived in the forties.”

“I’m a Russian spy that has been adopted by an undercover organization.”

“I shoot arrows better than anyone, but I can’t use that talent anywhere except in combat against bad guys.”

“I am the God of Mischief. Surely, I am not normal.”

“You see,” Toni said soothingly. “You’re probably the most normal one here.”

“I just feel like I don’t fit in.”

“You do!” Pamplemousse exclaimed happily. “You’re one of my best friends!”

“Brooke, you’re so well fitted to this group. I can’t imagine anyone else in your place.”

Brooke smiled as she looked at everyone around her. “Well now I feel silly,” she muttered sarcastically.

Toni smiled at her friend. “Now there’s the Brooke we all know.”


Natasha was walking with Pamplemousse and Toni out on the patio around two o’clock.

“It’s so pretty out here,” Pamplemousse said with a great, big smile.

Nat nodded and continued on with their walk, looking thoughtfully at the trees and plants around them.

Suddenly, the spy froze and looked up at the sky. “Do you guys hear that?”


“Alert,” JARVIS chimed around the house. “There is an incident in the courtyard.”

Tony put down his welder. “What kind of incident?”

“Antoinette, Pamplemousse, and the Black Widow are in imminent danger.”

“Prep the suit,” Tony said as he threw his welding goggles across the lab. “Now!”


Loki and Steve were the first ones to reach the small group in the garden. What they saw took the spangled-man’s breath away.

Toni and Nat were covered in blood on the ground with Pamplemousse on her knees next to them.

Bruce and Tony arrived next, with Clint and Thor on their heels.

“Toni?” her father shouted as he fell to his knees next to her.

The blood-covered teen wrapped her arms around him and started to sob incoherently. Pamplemousse did similarly when Bruce reached for her.

“Nat, no!” Clint shouted as he fell down next to her, starting to cry. “No, you can’t do this to us. You can’t just leave us like this.”

The spy looked at her former lover through a blood-covered haze. “Clint?” she asked weakly. “I’m so sorry.”

Loki knelt next to them and proceeded to attempt a healing spell. “You have nothing to apologize for,” the god mumbled. “You’ve done nothing wrong.”

“They…it…tried to get Toni. I…I couldn’t…”

“Shh, it’s okay, Nat,” Clint mumbled through tears. “You’ve just gotta pull through, okay? We need you.”

Natasha shook her head, feeling dizzy. “No,” she muttered. “No you don’t.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Bruce said soothingly. “Of course we do.”

Pamplemousse sniffled and leaned closer to her new friend. “That’s rule number two: You’re not allowed to die.”

The spy shook her head again. “These things happen,” she muttered. “I’m happy to die knowing I protected you.”

“Don’t even!” Clint exclaimed. “You don’t get to do this to us. You can’t just give up like that, you have to keep fighting.”

CJ finally arrived and looked at Nat. “No, no, no,” she mumbled. “No, it can’t be like this! Not now! No! Natasha, no!”

Brooke held the spy’s cool hand. “You have to stay with us, okay? Please, stay with us.”

Bruce looked at the Avengers. “I’m going to run and grab my med bag. Keep her talking, keep her going.” And with that, the good doctor got up and ran back to the house.

“I thought you were a bro,” CJ muttered through tears. “Bros don’t die.”

Nat smiled weakly at her friends as her heavy eyelids sank, pulling her completely into the darkness.


Chapter 28 is sad because Cj says "Let's just say I've got red in my ledger and I physically cannot wipe it out.". That's sad because Natasha says that in Avengers.

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

I am going to cry. Natasha is my favorite Avenger and SHIELD agent. I've always looked up to her character. I almost cried during chapter 25 and got some weird looks from my family. Well they don't understand so if they have a problem then they can suck it.

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

MAJOR SPOILERS! Unless you finished chapter 24

OH MY GOD!!!!!!! NATASHA"S DEAD!!!!!!!! AND SHE HAS A SISTER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

CLINT SAID HAWKWARD!!!!!!!!! THAT"S AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! BEST PUN EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

Are you planning on continuing in a sequel?

Anonyme_Amour Anonyme_Amour