Authorís Note: This was written as a RPG (roll playing game) between co-authors Hope1iz and BlackFox12. Set after the season one finale. Thirty-seventh in the Redeeming Grant series.
Disclaimer: We don't own anything from the television series Agents of SHIELD and Avengers movies and we're not making any money from this fic
Summary: Kara gets herself in trouble. Some of the others share their stories with her.
Authors: Hope1iz and Cat2000
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for Agents of SHIELD Seasons one and two; spoilers for all Avengers movies to date.
Co-Authorís Website: BlackFox12's fanfiction.net page
Everyone had returned back from their vacations safely and were settling back into 'regular' life again. Most of them had jobs of one sort or another to keep them occupied, be it running a multi-national company, running experiments, searching for information, or running ops. Everyone was quickly busy again.
Except Kara. Kara was most obviously not busy...even though a lot of her time was taken up with exercises meant to either jog her memory or to determine her strengths and weaknesses, her family all had other responsibilities than to cater to her; not to mention that they didn't want her to become stressed from trying to remember or do too much.
She supposed she should have just told her father she was bored and that she could handle more responsibility. She didn't, though; and that led to her actions of the afternoon. It hadn't been very wise, taking the location Skye had written down as a possible HYDRA hide-out and going to investigate it on her own, but that's what Kara had done.
Amazingly enough she hadn't been seen at the hideout. As far as HYDRA knew, that location was still safe from SHIELD. Unfortunately, she had been seen about three blocks away from the hideout, as she was buying herself a cup of coffee to 'blend in'. Somehow, despite her wearing a 'different' face, they'd known it was her and sent a pair of goons to retrieve her. She'd managed to get away, but not without incident. She'd cut her arm while climbing up a rusted fence in the last few minutes of her escape.
More subdued, and deciding maybe it was ok to be bored a little longer, she'd slunk back to the mansion and tried to fix her arm then put on a long sleeve shirt to hide the evidence. And kept quiet about what had just occurred. It was time for the evening meal, even though she'd rather beg out; her arm hurt and she was feeling guilty about hiding her actions from her father (she wanted to tell them HYDRA was there, but didn't know how to do it without telling them what she'd done and what had happened). Sighing, she put on a smile and went to meet everyone in the dining room anyway.
Fury had been in meetings with Coulson for a lot of the day and he knew his friend was just as relieved to come home as he was. Although tired, the two of them looked forward to spending time together as a whole family and had quickly gone to join the others in the dining room.
Natasha was preparing food, with her brothers' help... at least in theory. She'd finally chased Grant and Clint out, only calling them back when it was time to take plates and utensils in.
Pietro had laid the table at superspeed and now sat next to his sister. Wanda had been spending some more time training and developing her powers... now growing more confident that she wouldn't accidentally throw back a member of her family.
Brock had been going over the intelligence Skye had gathered online and was discussing it with Trip and Steve. He'd noticed his baby sister come in and sit down. She was being very quiet; unusual for her behavior of late, but he didn't question her. Not right away, at least. Everyone had an off day now and then.
Tony was sitting next to Pepper, discussing the pros and cons of different venues for a large party. It wasn't clear if they were planning another fund-raiser for the Maria Stark foundation, or if they were planning their wedding.
Bruce hoped it was their wedding. He hoped once everything was legal Pepper and Tony would finally calm down and adhere to the schedule Steve had set for the family without having to be reminded.
Steve settled down on the other side of Tony, smiling as he listened to his son and daughter talking.
Leo sat down next to his dad, talking with Jemma about an experiment they were running.
Skye sat down next to Lance, who had passed out beers and was drinking his own.
May smiled and sat down next to Coulson and Fury, watching everyone else carry on conversations and bustle around getting dinner on the table. "The vacations seemed to have done wonders for everyone," she remarked off hand to two of her oldest friends.
Fury nodded his agreement. "I think everyone needed a vacation," he commented.
"I know my kids had a really good time," Coulson commented. "Everyone got on." They might have had some hiccups, but it all went really well.
Kara smiled at Natasha as the older woman began bringing out food. "Can I help you?" she asked quietly, standing to go help bring in dishes.
Natasha smiled at Kara. "If you want to bring in the last of the dishes."
Kara quickly went into the kitchen and picked up the remainder of the dishes, carrying them into the dining room and placing them down on the table. She was surprised at how badly her arm hurt, carrying a simple dish. But she fought back a wince, clenching her teeth into a smile, and ignored it. It wasn't like she could tell anyone so they could look at it for her...not if she didn't want to admit what she'd done. It surprised her how guilty she felt keeping it secret, though. She glanced at Fury, giving her father a sweet smile.
Fury looked at his daughter, returning her smile... but his eyes narrowed in worry as he saw a glimpse of the pain she felt. He stood up to help her out. "Are you all right?" he asked her softly, his concern obvious.
Kara winced slightly at the knowledge that not only had her father noticed something, but he was worried. Biting her lip, she smiled again, deciding to stick as close to the truth as possible without admitting anything. "I ran into something and scratched my arm. I fixed it up, but I might have bruised it, it's a bit sore. I'm alright, though...."
Brock was listening and knew there was more to the story, but it was obvious Kara didn't want to tell. He glanced at his father, nodding slightly to let the older man know he was willing to listen and help too, even if it was only to convince Kara to spill whatever she was hiding.
Bruce had been paying close attention to everyone and had heard what Kara said. "After dinner, go into the family room and I'll check the scratch out...make sure it isn't going to get infected. Did you scratch it on something rusty? If so, I should give you a Tetanus shot."
Kara blinked at Bruce. "Um...ok. And yeah...it might have been rusty. I washed the scratch really well and put antibiotics on it, but I didn't think of Tetanus...."
Fury took the plate from his daughter and guided Kara over to sit down with him, nodding in acknowledgment to Brock. He wouldn't be surprised if Kara wasn't telling them everything. "We'll get it looked at after we've eaten," he promised.
Natasha went to join her father, sitting on the other side of him to Bobbi.
Kara nodded at her father then smiled at Natasha. "This smells really good," she said at her cousin.
Natasha returned her cousin's smile. "It might have gone worse if I hadn't chased Grant and Clint out..." she teased.
"Hey now!" Clint pouted playfully. "I'm sure Grant has a better grasp of cooking than you're giving him credit for," he teased his siblings.
"He is very good at making messes..." Bobbi added, not-so helpfully.
Grant rolled his eyes. "Sheesh...thanks, guys...I feel so appreciated now!"
Kara giggled then continued eating.
"You two can cook tomorrow night," Natasha suggested, before eating her own food.
The meal passed by with quiet conversation and joking and teasing. Once cleanup was done, Fury wrapped an arm around Kara's shoulders. "Let's get your arm looked at," he said gently to her.
Sighing, Kara leaned against her father. "Guess it's a good thing I'm wearing a tank top under this shirt, then...the scratch is close to my shoulder, so I'll need to take it off." Her voice was sheepish and she glanced at her father from the corner of her eye.
"I'll just get my bag..." Bruce said softly, giving Jemma and Leo a quick hug, before telling them to go do something fun for the evening and then going to retrieve his medical supplies.
"You mind if I stick around?" Brock asked quietly. "I figure we can talk a bit, once you're bandaged up."
"Lance and I will clean up... All the rest of ya'll can go do whatever you had planned, or go hover over Kara worriedly," Bobbi teased gently, winking at her cousin.
Kara blinked, wondering who all would be joining her, Bruce and her dad, other than Brock.
Fury gently guided Kara from the room, heading into the family room and settling her on the sofa, sitting down next to her.
Natasha moved quietly to join her cousin, in case Kara needed someone there who was used to wounds in the line of duty.
Kara winced as she started trying to pull her shirt up so Bruce could look at her arm. The wound was pulling and she wasn't entirely certain it hadn't started bleeding again.
Brock nodded at Natasha and smiled. It couldn't hurt to have another woman there. It would probably make things easier for his baby sister.
Bruce came in with his medical bag and set it on the coffee table. "I'm going to get some warm water to clean the round again. I'll be back in a jiffy...." He went into the kitchen, where Bobbi had already put a pot of water on to warm.
Fury helped his daughter carefully to pull up her shirt, holding her hand gently.
Natasha took a seat and smiled reassuringly at Kara, beginning to tell her about some of her own exploits... so that it would help take Kara's mind off what was going on.
Bruce came in carrying the warm water and a clean wash cloth, clicking his tongue sympathetically as he got his first look at the wound. "Hate to tell you this, sweetie, but that's a cut, not a scrape...and it looks like you need a stitch or two..." His voice was calming and he began to gently clean, removing dry and fresh blood and making certain there was no debris left behind.
Kara bit her lip at that news, giving her father a nervous look before deliberately focusing on what Nat was saying. "Have you ever misjudged how serious a wound was?" she asked, in an attempt to prove that she hadn't deliberately left a bad wound under-cared for...or that it wasn't inconceivable it was done unintentionally. After all, if Widow had misjudged in the past, then anyone could...right?
Fury continued holding onto his daughter's hand, though he looked quite serious.
"Many times," Natasha replied. "Though the worst was probably the very first time..."
Returning from her latest mission, Natasha realized that she'd grown completely numb. She quietly unpacked (not that she had very much with her) and then went to check out the grounds, feeling restless.
Clint had heard his partner arrive back in her room and had waited a few minutes to let her settle in before going to look for her so she could brief him. His decision for the next part of the mission was going to be based on what she had found out and what kind of shape she was in.
Natasha considered collecting medical supplies and treating her wound... but it was wrapped up and she figured that it would heal on its own. She'd had worse wounds, after all. She did a quick perimeter sweep and then returned back, a bit surprised to run into Clint... then again, it wasn't as if she was used to working with a partner. With anyone, either.
Clint could tell right away she'd been wounded. "What happened?" was all he asked. He was used to answering that question when he went on ops for his father; he was always expected to give precise details when giving information about his health, physical or mental. It was the way his father could plan ops, taking everything into consideration and making certain ops were as safe as possible. Because of this, he fully expected Natasha to be upfront and honest about her health.
Operating under the assumption that Clint meant the op (Natasha wasn't used to anyone concerning themselves with injuries as long as they were treatable), Natasha replied, "There were a few slight hitches, but I was able to retrieve the disk. It's in my room. I'll go and fetch it."
Clint blinked. "You can leave it there till time for our extraction.... I meant you. What happened to you? Are you wounded?" he asked, slightly amused, but mostly worried.
"It's nothing serious," Natasha replied. "I've treated it."
Clint wrinkled his nose suspiciously. He'd been able to tell she was wounded...he somehow doubted he'd be able to notice such a thing if it was minor. He didn't want her thinking he mistrusted her judgement, though. "If you're certain," he finally settled on. "But if you notice anything giving you problems, I want you to let me know. You're family now and families take care of each other. I'll tell you if something happens to me, of course." There was a slight warning tone in his voice, indicating that he expected compliance with his request.
Natasha gave him an uncertain smile. Family... She wasn't even sure she knew what that was. And there was a big part of her that assumed she'd be dropped the moment Clint returned to his 'normal' family. "I'll be fine," she said, wanting to drop the subject. She couldn't help tensing at the warning note, though.
Clint smiled. "Our extraction is tomorrow morning; we're to meet them in the parking lot of the farmer's market." He put an arm around her and pulled her closer. "How about you and I go to the nearest bar and watch the locals? We might find out something useful."
Natasha stiffened up, not really used to friendly contact, but didn't pull away. She nodded. "Sounds good. I just have to get something from my room." Actually, it was more that she needed to change the dressing on her wound. She could feel blood seeping through the bandage she'd wrapped over it.
"Oh, yeah...sure," Clint agreed easily. "I'll change clothes and come by your room to pick you up, then," he said, turning them both to head back to the hotel.
Allowing herself to be turned, Natasha headed to her room once they were inside the hotel. Closing the door, she carefully pulled the material away from her wound, grimacing as it ached. She was fairly certain she'd have to stitch it.
It hadn't taken Clint long to change and he'd quickly gone to Natasha's room and knocked on the door.
In the process of stitching the wound, Natasha's hand jerked at the sound of the knock and the needle stabbed where it shouldn't. She cursed quietly, before raising her voice so that Clint could hear. "Give me a few minutes."
Clint frowned. Any other person would have heard Natasha's words and thought nothing of it. He wasn't most people. He could hear a very faint hint of pain in her voice. "Nat? Are you ok?" He didn't attempt to hide the worry in his tone. If he heard distress in her voice when she answered a second time, he was going in; she could be mad at him after he'd made certain she didn't have any unwelcome guests causing her problems.
"I'm... fine. Just give me a moment..." Natasha couldn't help the slight gasp of pain as she pulled the needle out of the unwounded skin.
That slight gasp was all it took. Quickly picking the lock then drawing his gun, Clint slid into the room glancing quickly around to find the intruders.
Alone in the room, Natasha darted a slightly exasperated look at him. "Don't you think I would have found a way to warn you if someone had broken in?" She had her top off, but there wasn't much need for modesty in her line of work. The wound in her arm was already halfway stitched.
Clint narrowed his eyes at the wound. "I don't know...would you have? We haven't exactly set up any code words or messages to easily allow for that- which we need to do, by the way- and if the fact that you tried to act like you were perfectly fine when you needed stitches is any indication, I'm not sure you wouldn't have tried to take on any intruders by yourself...." His tone was frustrated, but underneath was the worry he hadn't attempted to hide once.
"I can take care of my wounds myself." Natasha didn't speak with any ire in her voice... only as if she were stating a fact. "This is something I know I could do... taking on intruders while I'm wounded is something I know I can't."
"It isn't a matter of if you can or not...it's a matter of you don't have to. I can help; and with my help, you could be taken care of more quickly and with less pain. And I might notice something you don't that you couldn't take care of on your own...such as the fact that you have a rather nasty cut near your shoulder blade that also needs stitches and it doesn't even look like you've cleaned it. Did you know it was there and just thought it wasn't that bad?" Clint had already moved into her space by this point and had taken the needle from her, quickly stitching her arm, before going to grab a wet washcloth to clean her shoulder.
Natasha held still, not protesting... even if she wasn't used to this. "I knew I'd been hurt there," she admitted, unwilling to outright say that she hadn't really thought it was as bad as it apparently was.
"So I will assume you didn't know it was this bad. I'd hate to think you knew and didn't plan to take care of it." Clint's voice was calm and matter of fact. "I think I understand now why dad insists that I tell him whenever I'm wounded, no matter how bad. If I underestimate wounds like you just did..." His tone was teasing, yet serious. "Of course, you didn't realize that is an expectation, so I can't rightly be upset you said nothing; in the future, if you are wounded, you'll tell me or dad."
"I don't even know what your Dad's like." Natasha's voice was thoughtful... maybe even a bit curious. Clint had said he considered her part of his family... but Natasha hadn't seen many families interacting. And she didn't think Clint's father would accept her in the same way.
"Dad is great..." Clint smiled, "...but he is really insistent on taking safety seriously and making sure you take care of yourself and letting your family help you if you need it." Clint slanted his head. "One thing that is not accepted is hiding things from your family when it impacts your health. Like I said...I can understand you not telling me you were wounded since you didn't know it was an expectation...but hiding it from me when I asked you directly...that's a bit harder to let go. Like I said- you're family now. We need to be able to trust each other even if we can't trust anyone else. Hiding things and lying makes that difficult."
Clint bit his lip. He knew what his father would do in a situation like this, if Clint had done as Natasha did. He wondered if he shouldn't do the same- he'd been telling the truth after all...she was family now. "I know what my dad would do...I'm thinking I should do the same...but it really depends on you." Clint finally said in a serious voice.
The look Natasha gave him was confused and uncertain. "What do you mean?" She couldn't imagine what kind of thing Coulson might do to Clint... though her interactions with Clint's father had been quite limited up until now.
Clint straightened up and swallowed, not sure how Natasha was going to take what he was about to tell her. He hoped it wouldn't scare her away...but she needed to know. "If my father had asked me about my health and I told him I was fine when I was really wounded...he'd spank me." He didn't say that was what he was considering doing for Natasha because of her own lie. She was smart and would figure it out without him saying so. Especially when he explained, "It's a family punishment and you can pretty much count on receiving one if you deliberately place yourself in unnecessary danger or put your health at risk by not getting help when you should. You can also get into trouble by lying or hiding things, although that doesn't always involve a spanking; unless doing so puts our health or lives at risk...." He watched her to see when she connected the dots between him saying she was family and how the family handled certain situations.
Natasha was good at hiding how she felt, but she couldn't stop the slight widening of her eyes at Clint's explanation. "You keep saying we're family..." She trailed off, not sure how to ask what she wanted to. She could put together what he was saying... but she still had trouble actually wrapping her head around the idea. It definitely wasn't something she'd expect a SHIELD agent to use a punishment... then again, Coulson was Clint's father, so it was obviously a different situation.
"They sent me to take you out, you know. You were a big problem for SHIELD...." Clint stopped to consider his words carefully. "I saw you and something... it's hard to explain, but I couldn't follow my mission. Something in your eyes reached me and I just knew in that instance we were connected. We were family. So I brought you in and Fury... Uncle Nick... He sensed it too, to a lesser degree, and he trusted my decision. This op was as much about letting us see how we meshed together as a team as anything else. I'm positive you belong with my family. The only question is if you feel the same." Clint looked into her eyes. "Haven't you felt a connection between us? Don't you feel like family? Or is it just me?"
Natasha glanced down, only able to hold eye contact for a few moments. "It's not just you." Her voice was barely a whisper. "I don't really understand it... I've never felt that for anyone else." Not even the others she'd trained with... been a part of, but still separate. She hadn't understood a family connection until she'd met Clint... but it scared her. She was terrified that this was something that would be snatched away. And she had no idea what his father... Coulson... thought about her.
Clint nodded. "And I'm positive dad will feel the same way." Clint gently reached out and put a hand on her non-wounded shoulder. "I also know, as family, that I can't let you hiding your wounds from me slide. If I hadn't noticed something was off and had believed what you told me, you could have got a bad infection. Or if we ran into enemy agents, you would have been at a disadvantage and I wouldn't have known to adjust for it. Any number of bad things could have happened to you or both of us if I hadn't discovered you were hurt."
Clint waited for what he said to sink in, before continuing, "Dad isn't here to handle it...and you haven't even got to meet him yet, so I feel responsible. If you accept me as your brother and accept my position in your life, will you accept my taking care of matters?"
Natasha tensed a little, but then relaxed under Clint's hand. Did she accept Clint as her brother? She was honest with herself most of the time... and she knew she did want to accept Clint in her family. "I... trust you." Her voice was very quiet, but very certain.
Clint nodded, then glanced around the room before letting his gaze settle on the bed. "Then let's take care of this now. Once it's done, it's over and behind us...it won't be brought up again." He gently led her to the bed. "Normally, a spanking is done bare...but because this has all come up at once and you have so much to think about, I'll leave your underwear in place...." As soon as he'd said that, he set on the bed and gently drew her over his lap, pulling her in close and secure to his torso, making certain her wounded arm and shoulder were supported adequately, before lowering her slacks.
He gave her a moment to adjust to the position before raising his hand up and letting it fall with a firm smack. The smack wasn't as hard as some of the spankings he had received in the past, but was still hard enough to leave an impression.
Natasha slowly followed Clint over to the bed, not fighting the position... even though she shifted uncomfortably. She tensed a little at the first swat... knowing it wasn't even really that hard; but there was something about the feel of this position and the emotions it raised that made it more personal than she'd been expecting.
Clint raised his hand and let it fall a second time, then a third. Soon, he'd fallen into a pattern of firm swats, covering his sister's backside down to her thighs before starting at the top again.
Natasha had experienced pain before, but there was something about this position... and the emotions involved... that affected her deeper than anything she'd ever felt before. She reacted to the swats, biting back gasps of pain and trying to hold still... no matter how hard it was.
About halfway through the second circuit, Clint began to speak. "You're my sister and I love you. I don't want to lose you because of any reason, but especially not because you hid something from me and prevented me from providing help that you might need. I don't want you unnecessarily hurt or in pain, either....both of which could occur from you hiding the true state of your health from me. Dad will feel the exact same way. Just because you can take care of yourself with no help doesn't mean you should. Let us help you. Let us be there for you. Don't hide things from us; especially important things that we need to know so we can be there for you...."
Natasha couldn't help but listen to Clint... listen to her brother... as he spoke to her. A quiet sob escaped, causing her breath to hitch. She wanted desperately to believe in Clint... and believe that not only did he want her, but that his father would as well. She didn't trust easily... but she found that she trusted Clint.
Clint finished the second circuit and, hearing the quiet sob, quickly moved to finish. Targeting his sister's sit spots, he quickly landed ten firm swats.
It wasn't really the pain of the spanking that caused the tears to come quietly... but the emotions it had triggered were overwhelming and Natasha cried softly, going limp over her brother's lap.
Clint wasted no time in gently pulling his sister up into his arms and holding her tightly. Kissing her on top of the head, he rubbed her back and hugged her close while softly whispering, "It's all done. You've paid for your mistake and it will never be brought up again. I love you, Nat...you're my family, my sister; and I want to be there for you. Please let me...."
Natasha choked on a quiet sob and wrapped her arms around Clint, pressing close to him. "I'm not used to this," she whispered. "To having a family... but I want to try."
"I know...and I'll help as much as I can. Me and dad both will...you won't regret it..." Clint soothed, holding her even more securely.
"Did you? Ever regret agreeing to share everything like that instead of doing things on your own?" Kara asked curiously. She thought she knew the answer, but having it confirmed would make her own decisions easier to accept, she thought.
Natasha smiled slightly. "There was never a time I regretted it," she answered. "Dad and Clint became my family... the two people I knew I could count on the most in the world. And that's never changed. Well, apart from having more people I know I can count on." Her smiled widened.
Kara nodded, giving her own slight smile. By this time, Bruce had finished stitching up her arm and given her a tetanus shot. She'd avoided watching and had in fact grabbed her father's hand, squeezing it tightly in an effort to avoid paying attention to the needle. Bruce's quiet, "All done," surprised her as a result.
"If it's one thing I've learned since joining this family..." he said in an off-handed way, that indicated he had a story to share, "...it's that keeping things secret from the family never bodes well for any reason."
Kara blinked. "What do you mean?" she asked curiously.
It had been several days since the mess with Ultron had been cleared up. Everyone was safe. Everyone was healthy. Everyone had adjusted to the new members of the family, or were adjusting, and was happy. Well, mostly happy. Bruce couldn't say he was unhappy, but he wasn't terribly happy, either. He felt too guilty about the role he'd played in the whole mess with Ultron. And he had no clue what to do about it. As a result, he'd slowly been withdrawing from everyone; spending only enough time with the family that he hoped they wouldn't worry- and spending enough time with his own children that they didn't feel neglected- but whenever he could, he was in his lab, working quietly, trying to come up with something that might be helpful to everyone, so that he could make up for what had been done with the homicidal robot.
Steve had always been good at observing members of his family and noticing when something was wrong. It was quickly becoming clear that Bruce was unhappy and Steve, deciding that he wasn't going to just ignore it, tracked his other son down to his lab. He knocked once to announce his presence and then entered.
Bruce had just finished another test; that he hadn't really needed to do, but it never hurt to have confirmation of the other- he blinked as he saw the file- other five tests he'd already done. "Well, I guess that means it is definitely correct..." he muttered in irritation at himself. His head shot up at the knock on the door. "Steve..." He wrinkled his nose in confusion. "Is everyone alright? Did something happen?" He glanced over the other man, trying to find signs of injury or blood from another's injury, but couldn't find any evidence of anything wrong. He looked back to his father in worry. "Do you need the other guy?" he asked hesitantly.
Steve shook his head, even as he stepped over to Bruce. "It's you I need to see." His voice was calm, but filled with concern and worry as he looked his other son over. "You've been withdrawing."
"Oh...Uh...I..." Bruce awkwardly ran a hand through his hair. "I guess so. I've just been thinking a lot..." he finally muttered, not able to meet his father's eyes.
"Thinking? Or feeling guilty?" Steve asked gently.
Bruce finally looked up, his eyes sad and a bit haunted. "Bit of both, really. Thinking that there were so many ways this could have turned out even more awful than it did. Thinking that if Tony and I had just told anyone else before we forged ahead, it might have been prevented. Thinking that I was just as responsible for not telling anyone as Tony was; and I certainly didn't try and influence him not to do what we did. And then thinking about how he took complete responsibility for it all and was punished, even though I played almost as big a role...so yeah. I feel guilty." He sighed and slumped. "I also know that everyone is afraid that yelling at me or doing anything at all to make me pay for my part in it will bring out the big guy...so they're letting it go. Which feels even worse." He shrugged slightly, looking away again.
Steve moved closer to Bruce, reaching out to wrap an arm around his shoulders. "I can understand how you're feeling, son." He spoke to Bruce in the same way he spoke to Tony... treating him as his; because for all intents and purposes, Bruce was. Even though Steve hadn't taken that step to adopt him. "Pulling away from your family is only going to make you feel worse... not better," he said gently.
"Maybe..." Bruce muttered, tensing up but not pulling away...and relaxing once he realized that Steve wasn't going to just pull away. "...But right now, I don't feel like I can face any of them, knowing that I was just as responsible for the mess that occurred...but I got away with it."
Steve tightened his embrace around Bruce, even as he nodded. "You feel like you got away with it... so how do you think I should deal with it?" He knew how he would normally deal with it... but he wanted to see what Bruce felt.
Bruce flushed. It was hard to admit, but he knew he wouldn't feel right unless he was treated exactly the same as Tony had been. "I deserve to be punished..." he finally said softly. "...The way you punished Tony. I don't deserve any less...." He swallowed hard then looked up at Steve. "I'm fairly certain the 'other guy' agrees, because...I feel more anxious that you won't do anything than at the thought you will." His smile was sheepish and uncertain; he didn't know how Steve would respond to his confession.
Steve nodded, pressing a kiss to the side of Bruce's head. "Why don't we go to the office?" he suggested softly. "We'll take care of this. You won't need to feel guilty anymore." His voice was soft and reassuring.
Swallowing again, Bruce nodded, letting Steve lead him out of the lab and to the office. He felt relieved that his father had noticed something wrong and had come to do something about it; he had planned on just keeping his guilty feelings to himself, not wanting to burden anyone else with worry over him. He could see now that wasn't the best way to handle it; but then again, he was still getting used to the fact that his family cared about him and wanted to help him instead of being afraid of him.
Steve kept his arm around Bruce's shoulders as he guided his son out of the laboratory and headed towards the office. As he did so, he tapped a quick message on the comms to let the others know the office was going to be in use.
Soon enough, Bruce wasn't certain if he was grateful or upset at the fact, they were in the office with the door firmly shut. He slowly turned to face his father and forced himself to look into Steve's eyes. "I know what we did was wrong and why it was wrong. I know Tony is capable of making decisions on his own and maybe my saying anything wouldn't have changed his mind, but... I didn't really try all that hard to change his mind, either. And when the decision was made to go ahead, I kept quiet about it, instead of informing you or Coulson or Fury.... I... so many were hurt... so many killed... I..." He swallowed again and closed his eyes, his guilt finally overwhelming him now that he had given voice to it.
Steve hugged Bruce tightly for a few moments before he led him gently over to the chair. "What Ultron did wasn't your fault," he said gently. "We'll deal with your part in creating Ultron... and then it will be over." He took a seat and drew Bruce across his lap, wrapping an arm around his waist to hold him steady.
Bruce couldn't help but stiffen automatically; this was the first time he'd ever been in this position as an adult... and definitely the first time he'd been in this position with an authority figure that actually cared about him and that he respected. Taking a deep breath, he let himself relax; as much as one could relax with the knowledge that one was going to have their butt roasted, at any rate. "Thank you..." he finally said in a quiet whisper, not certain what else he could say.
Steve rubbed his son's back gently then bared him. He lifted his hand and brought it down in the first hard swat in the centre of Bruce's backside, then repeated it.
Bruce wasn't really the vocal type, so the fact that he barely let out a tiny grunt at the first smack shouldn't have surprised Steve. It wasn't that he was trying to be stoic and keep control, either; he just did so automatically after years of having to keep a grip on himself and his alter-ego. He forced himself to relax and breathe, reaching down and grasping his father's ankle tightly.
Steve understood Bruce's lack of reaction... and it wasn't as if he was trying to force reactions from his son. As he reached Bruce's thighs and then started over from the top, he began talking quietly. "What Ultron did has no bearing on you. You and Tony shouldn't have acted, not without talking to us... but you were trying to do what you thought was the right thing."
"We...we were trying to do the right thing... but...but we should have included you and the others in the decision..." Bruce gasped out, his eyes watering from the combination of extreme guilt, the sting that was making itself known and the vulnerability he felt in the position he was in. "We never meant...I never meant..." He swallowed and closed his eyes, before taking a shaky breath.
"You should have," Steve agreed, shifting Bruce forward to target his sit spots. "We're your family. We're here for you. I know that hasn't been the case in the past... but it is true now."
And Bruce knew what Steve said was true. He may not have had many (if anyone) there for him in the past, but he had a family now that cared about him and who would work with him, not against him. He needed to treat them with the same respect and trust they showed him. "I'm sorry...." Bruce gasped out, finally allowing himself to fully cry. Tears streamed from his eyes as he went limp over Steve's lap and softly choked out, "I'm so sorry...." His hand tightened around his father's ankle.
Steve stopped spanking and immediately helped Bruce up off his lap, wrapping his arms around his son and hugging him tightly.
"I'm sorry...I never meant...everything that happened..." Bruce whispered against his father's chest, not able to stop his tears once they had started. He'd been holding onto the guilt for a long while and now that he'd let go of even a tiny bit of it, he was unable to keep any of it inside.
Steve held his son close, rubbing his hair and back. "I know you didn't," he said soothingly. "A lot of good came out of what happened, along with the bad."
"Forgive me..?" Bruce asked contritely...although he felt those he really needed to ask were the ones no longer able to ask. "Help me do better..?" he ended weakly, sniffling, as he finally regained a small bit of control over his emotions.
Steve pressed a kiss to his son's head. "Always," he promised, answering both of Bruce's requests.
Finally, taking a shaky breath and pressing his forehead to Steve's chest, Bruce calmed himself. "No more hiding things from you...from now on, big decisions that affect everyone get brought to everyone...." he said softly before finally backing away and fixing his clothing. Blushing slightly, he looked up at his father. "And if I feel guilty, I'll tell you, instead of hiding away. If Leo or Jemma did what I did, I'd worry myself sick; I'm sorry for...." He shrugged awkwardly, looking down again.
Steve wrapped his arm around Bruce and squeezed him gently. "It's over now," he said gently. "Clean slate."
Bruce normally wasn't overly affectionate- he'd been burned too many times in the past, not to mention being afraid to get close to people because of Hulk- but he couldn't help but press tighter to his father and hold on tight. "Thank you..." he whispered, as he snuggled with his dad.
Steve cuddled Bruce tightly, stroking his hair gently. "I'm here for you, son," he promised.
Kara smiled crookedly at the fond look on Bruce's face. "Yeah, I guess hiding what you were doing with Ultron didn't work out the way you'd hoped; although it let you all find me, so I have to admit, a bit selfishly, that I'm glad at least some of it happened...."
Bruce chuckled. "...There is that. Although I'm certain you understood I wasn't just talking about hiding what we were doing with Ultron, but was also referring to hiding what I was feeling from my father...."
Bruce eyed her sternly, face serious and far more knowing than Kara felt comfortable with. She couldn't help but squirm. "Yeah...I got that, too," she said softly, giving her cousin her own fond look. She'd moved closer to Fury without realizing it, pressing closer to him as if seeking reassurance on a subconscious level.
Brock couldn't help but notice that and decided to nudge her that one little bit more. "All this talk about 'first times'... and up until a few months ago, I couldn't even remember my first time!" he groused in amusement. "When I finally did..." He reached over and ruffled Kara's hair playfully.
"What?" Kara raised an eyebrow quizzically.
Brock chuckled. "Well...see...."
"Damn it!" Brock threw himself back behind the wall, pressing against it tightly and checking his gun for the hundredth time; as if checking it even once more would change the fact that he was completely out of ammunition. He'd gone into this mission woefully underprepared, mostly because he wasn't supposed to be on this mission in the first place. Director Fury had told him that he had another team that he planned to send in later in the week, but Brock was positive if they waited, the intel they needed would be destroyed or long gone and he was certain he could get it in a quick in-and-out.
Well, he'd been partly right. He'd got in quick and got the intel. Getting out wasn't turning out nearly as easy. If he made it out of this mess alive, he fully expected to be put in the brig for disobeying orders...if he wasn't outright fired. Which sucked, because he loved his job. He liked the people he worked with. He even liked his boss, even if Fury could be a bit of a hard-arse about some things. They were as good a friends as the man was capable of being with a subordinate. And here he'd gone and done something that would give that friend no choice but to lay down disciplinary measures. He sighed softly, a twinge of guilt nagging him about that fact.
Shaking his head, he refocused on the situation at hand, trying to find an alternate escape route.
Fury had gone to check on the equipment, knowing that some of it had been malfunctioning, and realized that more of it was missing than was meant to be. He accessed the coms, sending out a call to find out who wasn't where they were supposed to be... though he suspected he had a good idea.
Brock blinked as a bit of static came out of his com, before a familiar voice was calling for a check in. He groaned internally; so much for his mostly far-fetched out-of-reach hope that he might be able to find a way out of this mess and sneak back to headquarters with no one finding out what he'd done. He really only had two choices now. Answer the com and admit what he'd done, or keep quiet and, more than likely, make things worse; especially if he didn't get out of this mess and was captured. Reluctantly, he reached up and turned his speaker back on so that Fury would hear him. "Crossbones checking in. I'm kinda hemmed in at the moment, though, so can't talk...." He winced at the smart-arsed tone in his voice, knowing it would only serve to irritate his superior officer even more than he likely was going to be when he figured out what Brock had done.
"Agent Rumlow." Fury kept his tone even, although his initial reaction was to bark out a demand for answers. "If I'm not mistaken, you shouldn't be on a mission right now." He was moving as he spoke, heading towards his own gear. "Where are you? What's your situation?" There was concern in his voice, below the irritation and anger.
"I am currently at that location we spoke about this morning, sir..." He didn't want to give exact coordinates over the coms, in case someone was listening in. "My situation is that I'm out of ammo and my exit has been blocked by hostiles. I am currently attempting to find an alternate way out of hallway B that doesn't involve going through doorway C or A...." That morning, his argument for being allowed to go on the mission had involved a detailed plan of entry and exit that he'd shared with the director. He hoped that the vague information he gave would remind Fury of said plan, because he'd followed it to the detail; until his exit had been blocked. Fury should know exactly where he was by now.
Fury bit back the angry response that sprang to his lips. Right now, his priority was getting his agent out of the mess Brock had landed himself in. The scolding and disciplinary measures could come later. "I'm on my way." He reached the garage and took a plain, dark car, driving it out and onto the road, heading towards Brock's location at top speed.
"Yeah...ok, sir. I might need to hide up in the air ducts until you get here, if I'm not lucky enough to grab a gun from one of them...." Brock kept his tone as serious and apologetic as he could sensing that a smart mouth attitude would only dig him into deeper trouble with his boss. He could tell Fury was....well....furious.
"Stay out of danger. I'll be there in ten minutes." The drive really should take nearly double that time... but Fury was breaking the speed limits to get to his agent. His voice was clipped, only barely holding back from tearing Brock a new one.
"Yes, sir," Brock answered, in a subdued tone, just before lifting himself up into the air vents and crawling toward what he hoped was the outside of the building, or an exit. He was pretty sure by this point he was fired. As soon as Fury skinned him alive.
Fury reached the building in record time. Parking outside, he didn't speak into the com, not wanting to risk alerting anyone to him being there. Instead, he got out of the car, leaving the engine running, and began scouting round the building.
Brock let out a sigh of relief and self-congratulation as the vent he was crawling through actually ended up where he hoped it might. Kicking out the grating covering it from the outside, Brock slid out, then dropped to the ground, looking around quickly to make certain he wasn't seen before dashing toward where he heard a car running, hoping that it was his boss and not reinforcements from those gunning for him.
Spotting Brock, Fury quickly made his way towards him, gun in hand as he scanned for any signs of pursuit. "Get in the car." His voice was nearly a growl, frustrated anger showing through clearly.
Brock didn't even think to argue, his eyes going wide as he ran to the car and slid into the passenger seat, quickly looking for a back-up weapon in case they were pursued.
Fury had made sure to bring backup weapons and he kept his own trained on the entrance, even as he backed up towards the car. He got in the driver's seat and closed the door, quickly pulling away.
Once they were away from the building and certain they weren't being followed, Brock swallowed hard and opened his mouth to explain; but one look at Fury had him closing his mouth again quickly. He swallowed again and tried not to let on how nervous he was. It wasn't like he didn't know what was going to happen to him.
Finally, he said in a quiet, defeated voice, "I'll pack up my locker and turn in all my equipment and my badge when we return...." He couldn't face the older man next to him, not wanting to see his boss's anger or his friend's disappointment. The fact his boss and friend were the same person made his actions seem all that more bad.
Fury tightened his grip on the steering wheel, not looking at Brock as he spoke. The words came out clipped, as he was barely keeping a handle on his temper... but he still planned to make things clear. "You're not going to be fired."
Brock winced, not certain the only alternative he could think of for blatant disobedience wouldn't be worse. "H...how long will I be in the brig for?" He closed his eyes and had to look down, as his voice came out sounding more scared than he would have hoped.
"I'm not going to throw you in the brig, either." As angry as Fury was, this was actually more personal. An official punishment didn't fit... didn't feel right.
"Sooo...you aren't going to punish me?" Brock didn't sound hopeful; he didn't truly believe he'd get away with what he'd done. He sounded very confused and almost lost as he floundered, trying to figure out his immediate future.
"I didn't say that." Despite driving slower, it didn't take long for SHIELD HQ to come into view. As Fury parked the car, he continued, "An official punishment isn't right for this situation. You went against my instructions and put yourself in danger doing so."
Brock swallowed hard, completely confused and taking wild guesses at what Fury might possibly have planned. "You are going to punish me unofficially? I...I'll try really hard to stand still and not try and block, then...it might be difficult, but I trust you and I know a beating is the least I deserve...." He cringed at how nervous he sounded.
Fury finally turned to Brock. "Brock." He used the other man's first name, rather than referring to him as Agent, proving just how personal he viewed this. "I'm not going to beat you. I am going to spank you."
Brock just stared at Fury with wide-eyed open-mouthed confusion. Of all the various punishments he'd imagined Fury might use, a spanking hadn't made the top twenty. It hadn't even made the top one-hundred. He honestly did not know how to react or what to say to Fury's announcement.
Fury continued speaking, now that Brock was no longer talking. "You went into a dangerous situation, ill-prepared and without any kind of backup... not even letting anyone know where you were. When I specifically told you not to go. I could fire you. I could throw you in the brig. I happen to like having you around. But you put yourself in huge, unnecessary danger. Why? Was it to prove a point? That you could do it? Or did you think I was lying to you when I told you how dangerous it was?" Frustration and anger were heavy behind Fury's voice.
"No!" Brock blurted out, in a scandalized voice, before he regained some measure of control. "I didn't think you were lying...." He swallowed. "I...I was afraid if we waited to send in a team, like you'd planned, that the Intel would be gone by the time they got there. And I thought, even if it was dangerous...it would be worth the danger if I brought the Intel back to you.... So maybe it was to prove I could do it, a little bit? I don't know anymore. It doesn't seem like such a good idea now...." He looked down at his lap, unable to face Fury. "...I did get the Intel...if that means anything..." He somehow doubted it meant anything to his boss when compared to blatant disobedience and putting his life in danger.
"No intel is worth endangering yourself for!" It was a supreme effort not to bring his hand down hard on the steering wheel. "If I tell you not to do something, then you'd damn well better listen. I don't say things just to hear myself talk. Your safety is a priority. It's always going to be a priority."
Brock's head whipped up at the tone in Fury's voice and he couldn't help but look at the other man. "Yes, sir! I..." He swallowed. He thought maybe he should apologize, but was afraid if he did it at that moment, it would just appear like he was trying to get out of being punished.
Fury took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down... then another, before he felt he could speak without losing complete control. "We'll continue this discussion inside."
Brock felt awful. He could tell that his superior...his friend...was doing everything in his power to keep calm and deal with him from a non-angry standpoint. He almost wished Fury would just let go and let him have it. He felt like he deserved the anger. At the same time, he'd watched others who had gone that one step too far and been on the receiving end of Fury's tongue lashings and he couldn't help but be grateful that his boss was refraining. It was going to be hard enough facing his punishment like a man...a spanking?... without being cut to ribbons emotionally before hand. He was already feeling pretty raw just because of his own actions and guilty feelings.
Fury stepped out of the car, waiting for Brock to join him before he headed inside the building, making his way towards his office. He didn't say anything, attempting to use this time to calm down. Normally, he had no problems tearing an agent a new one... but Brock was a friend. He cared about him.
Brock did his best not to look like the errant 'little boy' following 'daddy' to the 'woodshed'... although that's kinda what he felt like. And he wasn't very successful at appearing nonchalant, if the sympathetic looks from his peers (the ones who hadn't outright run the other direction when seeing Fury) were anything to go by. By the time they reached Fury's office, it was taking all of Brock's self-control not to be shaking like a scared puppy.
Fury opened the door to the office and waved Brock through first, before following the other man inside and closing the door behind them. "I don't think there's anything left to say," he stated, his voice now somewhat calmer than it had been.
Brock opened his mouth to argue that point- he really felt badly now and wanted to apologize- but then closed it again. Apologizing now wouldn't mean anything. He'd wait until after Fury was done handing him his butt, then when he had no ulterior reasons for doing so, he'd apologize. He wanted to be sure Fury believed it was sincere. "What happens now?" he asked in a weak voice, blushing at how nervous he sounded.
"I'm going to sit in the chair there and put you over my knee." Fury walked towards the chair, expecting Brock to follow him. "Once this is done... that's it. No official reprimand. No other punishment, we're past it."
Brock closed his eyes and swallowed. He wouldn't even be able to pretend he was being punished like an adult if he was going over Nick's knee. "A...are you sure you can't just yell at me?" He winced at the high pitched tone in his voice, looking quickly at the ground as he blushed. He didn't wait for an answer, though, walking quickly, albeit hesitantly, to stand at Fury's knee.
"I could. Easily," Fury replied. "I care about all of the agents here... but you're a friend. Putting yourself in danger was a more personal mistake." He sat down on the chair and reached out to grasp Brock's wrist, tugging him across his lap.
Brock let out a tiny huff of air as he suddenly found himself facing the floor, his backside a prime target. Closing his eyes tightly, he tensed up in anticipation. It was worse than he thought and it hadn't even started yet. He already felt more vulnerable than he ever had that he could remember. He felt childish. He felt immensely guilty, Nick's reminder that they were friends throwing his actions into even harsher light. He felt unsettled and confused and honestly didn't know what to do. So he bottled all those emotions up and decided he'd brave it out.
Fury wrapped an arm around Brock's waist, drawing him in tight against his stomach. "Spankings are delivered on the bare." He said that to give the other man warning, before he bared him.
Brock's eyes flew open as Fury's words registered just before he felt the cold air ghost over his backside. He couldn't help the whimpering whine that escaped and he could feel his entire body turning red from embarrassment. He wasn't embarrassed at the lack of clothing; missions, locker-rooms and a general lack of modesty had pretty much guaranteed Brock wouldn't be phased at a lack of clothing. It was more that his friend was the one to bare him; just one more element that proved he wasn't in control of anything that was about to occur and for the moment, he might as well be a child, because he had about as much say as one. Nick was fully in control of everything.
Fury placed a hand on Brock's back, rubbing a little. He knew this position was unsettling. Determined not to drag it out any longer than necessary, he lifted his hand, bringing it down in the first swat at the crest of Brock's backside. The second swat landed in almost exactly the same place.
Brock closed his eyes and clenched his teeth, managing not to make any further noises that would announce his discomfort, or the fact that the spanking actually hurt. He was determined to accept the consequences of his actions like an adult; and while he wasn't certain many adults were punished in this manner, he was pretty sure that reacting with loud whimpers and whines or outright crying wasn't a very adult way to handle it. He put one hand on the ground in front of him to keep himself balanced and wrapped the other around Nick's ankle; not because he needed to feel connected to the other man to feel more secure...no, not for that reason, but because it kept him from throwing his hand back in an effort to block the swats. (Ok. Maybe he did need to feel connected to Nick and feel more secure; as much as he hated to admit it, he was feeling very insecure and a bit frightened by this whole ordeal and didn't know how to deal with it.)
Fury continued bringing his hand down in firm, hard swats, going down to Brock's thighs before starting over from the top. He didn't use his full strength, but he made sure the swats were felt. Halfway through the second circuit, he began speaking. "Putting yourself in danger isn't acceptable, Brock. For any reason. If I hadn't picked up the com, you could have ended up captured. Injured. Or worse."
Brock wasn't sure if he was meant to respond or just listen. He felt like he should respond...he knew Nick was right, as much as it hurt his pride to admit it. The problem was, this spanking hurt; even if his friend wasn't using full strength (he was never so glad that Nick had such firm control over his own reactions, because Brock knew it could have been so much more painful)- and Brock already felt so guilty and emotional about the distress and problems he had caused his friend, that the pain combined with the guilty emotion was making it near impossible not to begin crying like a baby and begging for forgiveness. If he responded to Fury's remarks, Brock knew that's exactly what would happen.
So, taking a deep, shuddery breath, closing his eyes and clenching his teeth, Brock didn't say anything and tensed up more in an attempt not to lose control.
Fury could tell that Brock was tensing up and trying not to lose control. He began putting a bit more force behind the swats, completing another circuit before shifting Brock forward to begin targeting his sit spots. "You shouldn't have been in that situation at all... you shouldn't have let me think you were going to stay and then left anyway. That's the sort of thing that loses trust."
Brock couldn't help the hiss of pain that escaped as his friend increased the force of the swats. Even so, he thought he might be able to stay strong...until Nick talked of lost trust. Just the thought that the older man wouldn't or couldn't trust him any longer reached him in a way that the spanking hadn't been able to accomplish. "No...I didn't...I can't lose...I never meant...." He couldn't think of a way to end any of those sentences, however. He took several gulps of air before finally going limp and starting to cry brokenly. "I'm sorry...." he choked out through the tears, clenching Nick's ankle tightly with each swat to his sit spots. He didn't try and squirm away or block the punishment...though the trembling of his body, even after he'd gone limp, made it clear that it was making an impression.
Bringing the spanking to a stop, Fury rubbed Brock's back a moment or two before he then replaced the other man's clothing. Helping his friend to stand, Fury wrapped an arm around him in a comforting hug.
"I'm sorry..." Brock whimpered into Fury's shoulder. "I didn't mean to disrespect or hurt you. I didn't mean to make you not be able to trust me.... Please forgive me....Please...." He tried to control the tears; the spanking was over and while his backside was still very sore, it wasn't like it was so painful he couldn't handle it. His emotions, on the other hand? He was having difficulty calming down; the thought of possibly having lost his friend due to his stubborn, thoughtless carelessness was more than he could face without tears.
Fury tightened his embrace around Brock. "It's a clean slate," he said, his gruff voice reassuring. "I forgive you. We don't have to deal with this again." There was a note of relief in his voice... that nothing had happened to his friend.
Brock gave his father a sheepish but grateful look. "I didn't remember that incident until a few days before we found you, really..." he said to his sister, "ÖBut it reminded me of something that I needed to remember."
Kara glanced from Brock to her father and back again. "What did it remind you of?" she asked, with soft curiosity.
Brock smiled. "It reminded me that dad had always cared about me and what happened to me, even before he adopted me. It reminded me that he had always been willing to step in when I needed it most, even if I didn't realize I needed it. It reminded me that we had been close before I was brainwashed. Until I remembered all that, a small part of me was afraid that Dad had just taken me in and adopted me because he felt guilty I'd been taken and brainwashed under his nose...that if I hadn't been brainwashed, we wouldn't be that close, because even though he told me repeatedly that he'd cared about me before and adopting me was a natural step for him to take, I was somewhat afraid that it was pity and guilt that had made him want me." He gave his father a crooked smile, as if apologizing for being afraid of such a thing.
Fury still had hold of his daughter with one hand, but he reached out with his other arm to wrap it around Brock's shoulders. "Being afraid is understandable. But you remembering is an encouraging sign," he added, knowing that Kara was worried she'd never get her memories back.
Kara snuggled into her father more and gave her brother a smile. "Yeah...it is..." She bit her lip, glancing around at her cousins and her brother, before looking up at her father again. All of their stories had one thing in common, she realized. All of them needed to trust their family member and not try and hide things from them. Which she was doing. Granted, she had come clean about the scratch and hadn't even attempted to hide that; but she hadn't been one-hundred percent truthful about how she'd got scratched. Her brother's story had held one more element in it that the others hadn't... She glanced at Brock again, wondering if he'd somehow figured something out, because his story had also indicated what a bad idea it was to disobey direct orders. Something she already knew but had done anyway. The only question left to her now was, did she keep trying to keep her disobedience hidden or fess up?
Swallowing hard, she realized that she didn't want to risk losing her father's trust. No amount of information was worth that. Biting her lip and looking down, she finally glanced back up at her father with a guilty look in her eye. "I...I need to tell you something, daddy..." she finally whispered softly.
Bruce, sensing a confession was about to be made, quickly stood and grabbed his bags. "I think that's my cue to head on back to find my own kids. I'll talk to you all later at breakfast...." He didn't wait for a response and was quickly gone.
Brock hugged his father and sister tightly. "I'll just go see what Trip is up to...." Soon, he was gone as well.
Natasha slipped out with a quiet smile and nod for both Fury and Kara, gently closing the door behind her.
Turning to his daughter, Fury stroked her hair and looked into her eyes. "Tell me," he encouraged, his voice gentle.
Kara swallowed hard and took a deep breath. "I got the cut while trying to escape some HYDRA agents that saw me while I was in a coffee shop getting a latte.... I caught myself on a rusty fence trying to lose them...." She couldn't look him in the eye and was attempting to find the words to tell him the worst of her actions. She reached over, taking his hand, needing more contact.
Fury responded automatically by taking hold of his daughter's hand and squeezing gently. "What else happened?" he asked, his voice firm. He knew there was more to it than that... if it had been innocent, Kara wouldn't have felt the need to try and hide.
"I wouldn't have been seen by them if I wasn't only three blocks away from one of their bases...." Her eyes dropped as she said that, unable to continue her confession while looking in her father's eyes. "I went to check out that information that Skye found...the place you were talking about getting a team together to go search. They didn't see me while I was searching, so as far as HYDRA knows, their base's still secret...but...I still went by myself without telling anyone what I was doing."
She bit her lip again, hard, before forcing herself to look back up at her father. "I...was going to keep that secret, but felt so guilty and I don't want to lose trust....Are you angry and disappointed with me?" Her voice was tiny and almost childlike, as she waited for her father to scold her.
Fury didn't let go of Kara's hand, even as he considered his response. "I'm disappointed you chose to go after this information on your own," he said. "Even if HYDRA believes the base is a secret, seeing you so close could still cause them to leave. More importantly, by going off on your own, you put yourself in danger. Anything could happen... you did get hurt, but you could have been captured and we wouldn't have known." She could have been killed... but Fury didn't put voice to that.
Kara winced at the knowledge that she could have caused HYDRA to abandon the base. When she thought about the fact they could have captured her and that she hadn't left her family any way to know where she might have been, let alone that she was in danger, it suddenly dawned on her that she could have been brainwashed again and used against her family. The thought terrified her and she couldn't help but clutch her father's hand more tightly as she went cold from the realization. "I don't even have a good reason for doing it," she sniffled, already close to tears. "I was bored and thought it might be interesting...."
Fury responded by wrapping his arms around Kara and drawing her in close. "You aren't the only one to grow bored," he said. "But when that happens, it's always best to come and see one of us. Not to put yourself in danger."
"I knew that, daddy....I don't know why I did the exact opposite of what I know..." Her voice was small and contrite.
"There are many reasons why someone might act in that way," Fury said. "Sometimes it's to test another person... to see how they'll respond." He paused, waiting to see if Kara would pick up on what he was suggesting.
"You think I was pushing to see if I'd get into trouble?" Kara blushed. "Why would I want to get into trouble, though...? Spankings hurt!"
"I know," Fury replied. "But it's not unheard of for boundaries to be pushed... particularly since our relationship is still very new."
"Well...if that's what I was doing, that's just silly...I know what my boundaries are with you; you were very clear." She sighed. "But that's prolly what I was doing...." She admitted it almost sullenly, not liking that her reasons might have been so childish.
Fury tightened his embrace around her a little. "It's often a subconscious need." Stroking her hair, he continued, "I think we should go to the office."
"Ok..." she said softly, snuggling just a little bit more before sighing and sitting up, then standing. "It's gonna be bugging me, trying to figure out what the heck my subconscious was after, though..." she muttered, with a hint of amusement.
Fury stood up, wrapping his arm around Kara's shoulders and squeezing her gently. "You don't need to worry about it. When something happens, we'll deal with it and move on."
Kara shifted closer to her father, feeling more secure despite the knowledge that she was soon to be punished. "Why do I feel safer and more at ease now that you've got me and are going to punish me? You'd think I'd be nervous or upset...."
"You know nothing's going to change between us and that I'm not going to throw you away," Fury suggested, gently guiding his daughter from the family room and heading in the direction of the office.
Kara followed quietly along, not arguing that point. It was true, after all. Soon, they had reached the office and Kara walked in, waiting for her father to close the door and give further instructions.
Fury stepped inside with his daughter, closing the door, and then led her over to the chair. Taking a seat, he gently drew her over to his side to settle her across his lap, careful not to strain her wound.
As with the first time her father ever punished her, Kara found it impossible not to be vocal, whimpering as he situated her over his lap. Feeling more at ease and safe because he was taking her in hand didn't mean the position didn't discomfort her at all; it was humbling and made her feel vulnerable and helpless. It left her feeling childish and the only reason she wasn't trying to barter her way out of it or trying to get away was because it was her father and she trusted him and his love. It was at that moment she came to a startling self-realization about her reasons for doing what she did and she couldn't help but whine at what she realized. Reaching down, she grasped her father's ankle and tried to mentally prepare for what she knew was coming. Her reasons, or what she suspected about herself, could be thought about later. It wasn't like they'd get her out of this position.
Wrapping an arm around his daughter's waist, Fury gently drew her in close and tight against his stomach. He rubbed her back for a moment or two before baring her, then lifted his hand and brought it down in the first hard swat, before repeating it.
"Ow...." Kara hissed out pitifully at the first smack and continued to let out tiny mewling noises with subsequent smacks. She saw no reason to try and pretend it didn't hurt or to try and act like it didn't affect her.
Fury continued the hard swats down to Kara's thighs, careful to make sure he held back on using his full strength. It was as he started over again from the top that he began speaking. "No matter how you're feeling, leaving and endangering yourself will not be tolerated. You're far too important to risk your safety."
As the second circuit began, Kara began wriggling. She'd held herself perfectly still the first time her father had spanked her- she hadn't wanted to cause him further pain or injury- but he was completely healed now and it hurt and she gave in to the impulse to squirm in the hopes that it might ease some of the sting. Of course, it didn't, but once she'd started, it was too difficult to stop. Especially when her father began his gentle scolding on top of the spanking. She wasn't terribly surprised when her eyes immediately began to water at his words. The tiny mewling noises turned into tiny huffs and sniffles as her emotions began to 'sting' almost as much as her bottom.
"You were very lucky," Fury continued, the swats working as an emphasis for his words. "You could have been taken... we wouldn't have known where you were. It would have been devastating. Not just for me and your brothers... but all of us. You're an important part of this family. You're important to everyone here."
Kara closed her eyes tightly as she thought again about what could have happened to her and the fact that no one in her family would have even been aware she needed help. She let out a tiny, frightened sob, throwing her hand back over her bottom. "Daddy...I didn't mean to!"
Fury moved Kara's hand out of the way, holding it against her back, and shifted her forward to target her sit spots. "I know you didn't mean to... but your safety is something you need to take seriously. I love you. I don't want anything to happen to you."
Kara began fully crying at the words, taking in gulping breaths and then sobbing them out again. "I'm sorry, daddy...I'm sorry..." She wriggled a slight bit more, stretching out her legs in an attempt to ease the never ending sting...then just slumped over her father's lap and cried, her soft sobs echoing with the firm swats.
Bringing the spanking to a stop, Fury wasted no time in gathering Kara into his arms, hugging her tightly and stroking her hair.
"I'm sorry, daddy....so sorry...." Kara repeated into her father's chest, snuggling as close as humanly possible and holding onto his shirt tightly in clenched fists. She wasn't ashamed to admit that she had become frightened once she realized just what risk she'd placed herself in. It had been an unwelcome shock and she trembled slightly still, thinking about what could have occurred. She'd been very lucky.
"I know," Fury soothed, tightening his embrace around his daughter. "You're forgiven. I'm glad I didn't lose you... that you might have been hurt, but it was nothing that couldn't be dealt with."
Kara nuzzled against her father's chest, slowly calming down. When her tears were finally dry and her breathing mostly even, she admitted in a whisper, "I'm glad I told you what I did...even if I got a spankin'...." She blinked her eyes wearily; it had been a long day and with everything that had occurred... she was just so very tired. She snuggled even closer to her father, her eyes shutting despite her efforts. She gave one fleeting thought to the fact she was sitting on her daddy's lap with her obviously spanked bottom on display if anyone else walked into the room...then the thought was gone and she was asleep.
Still holding his daughter close, Fury gently replaced her clothing. He thought about carrying her to the room... then decided that he was perfectly fine with sitting here with her. Holding Kara close, he settled in to just be with her.