Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Make it up to you

Nicholas smirked as he watched Lorraine tap her foot impatiently as they listened to Fury give the top twenty four S.T.R.I.K.E teams, all from Alpha to Omega, a lecture on not breaking any more rules and protocols. The red-head could listen to the Director give them a lecture but not when it was all the two-men teams all stuck in the same room.

"You okay?" he whispered, low enough for only his partner to hear.

"I'm just peachy," she replied, keeping her eyes glued to the screen where Fury had most of his lecture on.

'I can help,' Nicholas signed cheekily, earning a slightly amused raised eyebrow from the red-head.

'Not here,' she replied, rolling her eyes at the archer.

'Did you just roll your eyes at me? That deserves punishment Lorraine.'

'Maybe I want to be punished. Master.'

This time, it was Nicholas's turn to raise an eyebrow at his partner. He caught a glimpse of his ex-girlfriend, Bobbi Morse, glaring daggers at his red haired partner. 'Your best friend wants your attention,' he signed, making Lorraine raise an eyebrow before noticing his mentioned ex glaring at her.

"You really need normal exes," she whispered under her breath, making sure no one could hear her.

"Thank God you don't have an ex on base then," Nicholas replied at the same level.

"Well then you'd probably know how I feel," Lorraine hissed, catching Fury's attention.

"Romanoff! Dark! Is there something wrong that you feel the need to interrupt me?" he barked, glaring at the two agents.

"Sir, we just find this pointless since you gave us this exact same lecture yesterday for five hours. I, personally, think that Agent Romanoff and I could have our mission reports done and handed to Agent Coulson during the time you've finished this lecture," Nicholas replied easily, earning dropped jaws from most of the group at his simple tone.

"And Dark, why did I have to give you and Agent Romanoff a five hour lecture about breaking protocols in the first place?"

"In all due respect, sir, Agent Romanoff and I got the job done. With no civilian casualties. So why are you complaining?" Now that raised eyebrows from everyone in the room.

Fury glared at the archer before raising an eyebrow at the red-head beside him. "Do you feel the same way Agent Romanoff?"

"Yes, sir, I have the same thoughts about this topic as Agent Dark. If we get the job done with no civilian casualties - especially no fatalities - I do not see the problem. And, by my recollection, Agent Dark and I only broke two protocols because of our target bugging our rooms and car as well as poor Intel."

"The two of you get out before I decide to shoot both of you. And get your reports to Coulson ASAP," Fury stated, rubbing his forehead before turning to the remaining twenty three teams and continuing his lecture about breaking protocols.

"Sir, you realise that Dark and Romanoff only wanted to get out to bone each other," an agent stated as Nicholas and Lorraine left, earning deadly glares from the two agents.

"Agent Reynolds, we're professionals. Unlike you, we have control over ourselves and don't bone everyone we work with," Nicholas replied before slamming the door as he and Lorraine exited the room. Everyone turned to look at the affronted agent who was glaring holes into the door where S.T.R.I.K.E. Team Delta had exited. Yeah, Dark knew how to make people get pissed off.

"That's the idiot that Morse cheated on you with, right?" Lorraine asked as they arrived at their joint office.

"Yeah. And ever since I brought you in, he's claimed that you slept with me to get into S.H.I.E.L.D." Nicholas replied as he sat down at his desk, his head in his hands.

Lorraine walked over and hoisted herself onto his desk, placing a comforting hand on Nicholas's shoulder, gently rubbing her thumb against his shoulder blade. "Well, Fury, Hill, Coulson, you and I all know the truth Nicholas. Everyone else can think what they like. They weren't there in Moscow. They didn't read the report and they didn't see our interrogations. They don't know. But we do."

"When did you get so smart?" he whispered, raising his head and looking at his partner.

"Sometime after realising that Fury, Hill and Coulson trusted your decision and placed you as my S.O.," she replied with a nonchalant shrug but her partner saw pass it.

"Did you learn anything valuable during the six months as my student?"

"Yes. There's this american moron archer I know. He showed me that not everyone out there expects something in return for their help. That they just do what they do because they want to. Not because it's a job or a debt."

"Seems like this american moron archer is pretty smart and nice."

Lorraine smirked and shrugged, her smirk growing with her next comment. "He has his moments."

"He has his moments?" Nicholas asked with exasperation. "Moments? Gee, thanks Nat. I didn't know I was so cheap."

"You haven't asked me what I think of my best friend yet?" she interrupted, smirking as Nicholas's eyes widen in surprise.

"Oh... And what about your best friend?" he whispered hoarsely, feeling a strange tightening in his chest as he spoke.

Lorraine smiled as she leaned forward until their foreheads were almost touching. "He gave me back my life when he made a different call in the snowy streets of Moscow. Despite what he read in my file, despite my kill count, he looked me in the eye and made his own call. No matter the consequence. And he didn't want anything in return for it. And that's why he's the best thing that's happened to me," she confessed, her deep green eyes locked with Nicholas's stormy grey ones.

Nicholas smiled widely in response. "And you're the best thing that's happened to me too, Nat. No exceptions," he whispered before pulling her into a tight embrace.

She smiled as she returned his hug, gently and carefully resting her hands on his shoulder blades.

"You know my haphephobia doesn't effect me when you touch me. And I don't have as much problems with parasomnia, insomnia or dyssomnia when you're with me," Nicholas murmured against Lorraine's neck.

Lorraine smiled sadly at Nicholas's words, knowing exactly what - or rather, who - had caused her partner his pains. "And I will gladly keep helping you through them. Everyday," she whispered, bringing one hand to brush her fingers through his hair lovingly.

"Thank you."

"Come on. You need to get this report done. I've mine already done and handed to Coulson," she stated as she slowly pulled away from the archer who was pouting at her. And there was no way she did not find that sexy. No, not at all. "Don't pout," she whispered.

"Why?" Nicholas whispered, watching her carefully.

"Because it has the effect on me as I do on you, doing this," she replied, biting her bottom lip purposely.

"Oh," he grinned before pouting again, earning a gentle slap on the arm.

"Don't. The sooner you get that report done, the sooner we can leave," she stated as she slid off the desk. Leaning down, she pecked his lips softly. "I'll be at the shooting range. Laters... baby," she whispered, pecking his lips once more before standing up and leaving, putting an extra sway to her hips knowing Nicholas was watching her.

"Teasing minx," Nicholas murmured fondly under his breath as he watched her leave before turning to his report, wanting to get it done as quickly as possible.

Lorraine was just about to begin her fifth round of target practice when she sensed another presence in the room. And it wasn't her partner.

"Hey Nat," Agent Steven Reynolds greeted as he stepped near the red haired assassin.

"Reynolds, what do you want?" Lorraine asked coolly, turning around and glaring at the agent.

Reynolds swaggered his way towards Lorraine with a smug look on his face. "What's wrong Baby? Don't ya wanna have a good time?"

Lorraine went rigid before schooling herself to relax. "Not with you, Agent."

"Well that's too bad, because I'm gonna show you a good time. And you are going to do as you're told, you little slut."

Reynolds' words made Lorraine's whole body freeze up at the involuntary memory replay of what happened to her in the Red Room...

A young Natalia whimpered as her trainers came closer. They were holding ropes. They always had ropes. And whips. And canes.

"Now Natalia, we're very disappointed in you," Ivan sneered in his usual slurred Russian, grabbing the teenager's hair. "You're going to be a good little bitch now and do everything we tell you."

"But sir, I got the mission complete. The marks dead," Natalia whimpered, trying to get free. But Ivan only held on tighter.

Suddenly, the youngest of the trainers slapped her across the face."Shut up slut. Do as you're fucking told."

Natalia whimpered and cried as her trainers began to abuse her in one of the worst ways...

Lorraine was suddenly broken out of her flashback by the sudden appearance of her partner. The archer grabbed Reynolds just as the older agent was about to place his hand on the red-head and flung him over the bench with a satisfying crack. Nicholas's eyes flashed towards Lorraine and once she nodded she was back in reality he leaped over the bench, proceeding to attack the agent.

Lorraine could only watch as Nicholas began to beat Reynolds to a pulp. She had seen this side of him before - when a mark got a lucky shot off that caught her in her left shoulder. Once he was made aware that she would live, the archer went on a hunt for the mark. He beat him to the brink of death before finally putting him out of his misery with an arrow between his eyes.

Nicholas did not hold back as he punched, kicked and broke several of Reynolds' bones. The archer was livid. The minute he walked into the range, he had seen the look of disgust, nostalgia and fear in his partner's eyes. And he had swore a personal promise that he would never - NEVER - let Lorraine be forced into a position similar to that of the Red Room.

Suddenly, Coulson ran into the range, his eyes wide as he took in the scene in front of him. Lorraine was shaking - something she only did when she was reminded of her punishments in the Red Room - and Nicholas was beating Agent Reynolds to a bloody pulp. Slowly, he walked over to Lorraine who nodded the answer to his unspoken question; yes, she was physically okay.

"Dark! Dark! Stop! You're going to kill him!" Phil shouted, trying to stop the archer but his shouts fell on deaf ears. He tried again and again but there was no use.

"Nicholas, stop! Please! Nicholas!" Lorraine screamed, immediately stopping the archer mid punch. He looked up to find tears streaming down his partner's face - Lorraine Romanoff, the Black Widow was crying. Because he lost control. The ever patient Nicholas Dark lost control.

Nicholas dropped Reynolds to the ground and quickly made his way over to Lorraine, climbing over the bench and taking the red-head in his arms. "Shit. Nat, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. I'm sorry. I'm here. I'm here, I'm sorry," he whispered into her ear as he used one hand to stroke her hair while his other one held her close. Her arms immediately wrapped around his waist, holding him close to her body.

"You were so cold. I didn't know if it was you or your Hawkeye façade," Lorraine eventually replied when her tears stopped. But she still held him close, knowing she was safe in his arms.

"He made you remember what happened to you in the Red Room. And he was going to hurt you. And I can't let you get hurt. I can't lose you," he whispered into her ear.

Lorraine nodded softly. "Please, don't do that in front of me again," she whispered; the red-head didn't think she'd ever get that image of Nicholas's eyes out of her mind. The rage and pure malice of intending to kill. Because somebody tried to hurt her.

"Okay. I'll make it up to you later," he whispered before turning his head to look at their handler. "Sorry Phil. He... he was trying to use Nat... I just lost it," he confessed, continuing to hold his partner close.

"I kinda guessed that because of Lorraine still shaking when I entered the range. I got both of your reports. Go home. The cameras were turned off by Reynolds - we caught that. So we know he had unjust plans. He'll be charged with intentions of rape and sexual assault," Coulson listed, looking at the two agents in his care. "Dark, I'll make sure you don't get punished for this. You did what any of us would do; you protected your partner."

Nicholas and Lorraine both nodded their thanks before leaving. "Let's get you home," Nicholas whispered. He had to make it up to his lover for the fear he caused her.

"I owe you Nat. Today, I didn't mean to sc-...," Nicholas began as he pinned her tenderly to her apartment door.

Lorraine smirked and cocked her head to the side. "Then I better invite you inside. Sir." Her smart ass interruption resulted in her mouth being captured hungrily by her lover.

The couple moaned in mutual desire as the archer pressed himself closer to his spy. "Door. Now," he murmured against her lips. Lorraine grinned as she handed him the keys and let him unlock the door.

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