Title: Matty Groves, or, The Extraction
Pairing: Clint/Natasha/Coulson, Natasha/OMC
Warnings: Violence, Misogyny
Summary: Angelo Marioni only thinks he's the luckiest sonovabitch in the world, and Clint Barton hates extractions like these.
A/N: Another Ballad pastiche from me. Lyrics for "Matty Groves" can be found here. Thanks to cluegirl for beta duty!
"And you will strike the very first blow, and strike it like a man.
I will strike the very next blow, and I'll kill you if I can."
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Angelo Marioni doesn't believe in luck.
How did he get to where he is? Not from luck. From a fuckload of shrewd decisions made by a short line of Marionis, starting with great-great-grandpa Marioni--who'd had the smarts to come to America with gold ingots in his suitcase instead of salamis--to dear old Dad, God bless the trigger-happy fuck who'd put a bullet in the bastard's throat. Say what you would about Angelo's late not-lamented father, he'd doubled the size and wealth of the Marioni enforcement empire and left a lock-tight trust putting all of it into Angelo's hands.
Which means even after making sure Mama is still comfortably in Dior and Dom Perignon (and no longer needing sunglasses on cloudy days to hide the love taps from dear old Dad's fists), there's still plenty of green around. Plenty. Enough to keep Angelo and his little brother Gino in cigars, oxblood leather, Patek Phillipe wristwatches, and Wagyu. Luck's a bitch; you never count on her. Good planning is a helluva lot smarter.
But when it comes to Julie, Angelo feels like he's the luckiest sonovabitch in the world.
Sure, Giuliana got sucked in because of the Marioni green, he's not an idiot. Women can smell the money on him, and that's what drew her in, and he's kept her there because of the Elsa Peretti earrings and the table at Nobu and the Fifth Avenue apartment Angelo's got her gorgeous ass stashed in ("I can't live with you without being married, Angelo; what's my mother going to think?") and all that comes from the Marioni good planning, but, Christ, he could get any skinny piece of suntanned tail he wanted with the money. Julie's got more class in her little finger than any of those Eastern European sugardaddy hunters, and a helluva lot more than all those trust fund bitches who ever dreamed of a reality show, and she's the most perfect package on legs, puts all those bleached blonde Tatianas and Nadias to shame. Red hair, curves, ass like the firmest little pumpkin, tits like juicy pears, and a face like an angel's, if angels had bee-stung lips that made you think of nothing but sin all day.
And sweet. Christ, she laughs at his jokes, never bitches when he's two hours late, doesn't even turn into a cat around other girls. All this and Italian, too. Angelo can't figure out why his mama doesn't like Julie. "She's Italian, Mama," he tries. "Goes to fuckin' church. She's a nice girl."
"Going to church doesn't make you a nice girl," Mama says. "I should know, Angelo."
Whatever. Mama doesn't like any girl Angelo dates. Of course, Mama was right about that cunt Nadine, whose name no one says around him any more, thank you very fucking much. Six fucking months he spent wrapped around Nadine's little finger, always going back to that dive of a bar she dragged Angelo to, saying she loved going casual. Yeah, she loved that bartender's goddamn cock, that's what she loved. He hoped she was getting plenty of it in Hell with the little fuck. No one fucking got away with doing that to Angelo Marioni.
But that's not Julie. Nadine always wanted more, Nadine never tried to make nice with Gino or his mama. Giuliana dresses nice for him, not to compete with other girls; she doesn't flirt with other guys, doesn't beg for jewelry or an allowance or beg for anything outside of bed. Julie's perfect.
He hasn't bought the ring yet. It's only been four months, and even if he's made up his mind he's a little scared to push. What if Julie wants that nice Fifth Avenue apartment more than she wants him around all the time? He can't move too quick, can't scare her off. Can't lose her.
It's Sunday. Even if Julie kicks him out of her place early Sunday mornings so she can get to church, at least she never insists he go with her. Which makes it a good time to get actual work done. No such thing as a weekend in this business, so, two hours later Angelo's hands still smell like Julie when he's meeting with Jimmy Vanderwhile in Queens. He wants to talk with Vanderwhile alone. No go-betweens. He's had a funny feeling for a while that someone in the organization's got a loose mouth when it comes to sensitive subjects; nothing he can pin down, but a feeling like the Feds are on every corner these days, watching him harder. Angelo's learned to listen to his funny feelings. So, just him and Vanderwhile, in Vanderwhile's favorite little lunch place. He expects an hour of bullshit before they get down to any actual discussion, but at least the braciole's good here.
What he doesn't expect is baby brother Gino to show.
Angelo tries to cover. "Gino, c'mon in, glad you made it after all." Vanderwhile doesn't bat an eyelash, just waves over the waiter to set another place.
Gino doesn't sit. "Angie, I gotta talk to you. Something's come up."
Angelo is not happy. He doesn't want to blow off Vanderwhile like he's fucking Mike Lilliford from Jersey. But he makes his apologies and follows Gino to a quiet corner at the end of the bar. "What the fuck, Gino, you couldn't have called? You had to cross the East River and come find me?"
Gino licks his lips. "It's Julie, Angie," and just like that Vanderwhile no longer means shit to Angelo.
"What happened? She get hurt? She okay?"
"She's not hurt." Gino wets his lips again. What the fuck. "Feigelstein tailed her to church, like always." And yeah, Angelo's got a guy watching Julie, no shit. Bastards who want to hurt Angelo would know to go for his girl, hell yeah he's going to have someone tail her and keep her safe. Julie doesn't need to know the details. "And he called me. There's this punk who looked a little friendly with Julie, past couple of Sundays--picked up the hymnal she dropped, got in line behind her for communion, that kinda shit. Nothing big, but Feigelstein watched him. Feigelstein said today Julie was talking to him. Got giggly. Wasn't sure it was anything at first."
Not Julie. Angelo won't accept where this is going. "Feigelstein follow him?" Angelo doesn't ask if Gino checked to make sure it wasn't her brother or goddamn hairdresser or something; Gino wouldn't be telling him this shit unless it had got serious. Angelo's going to make sure someone warns the punk off with a few broken fingers, just to be sure.
Gino looks away for a moment. "Feigelstein had a bitch of a time following him. Turns out the punk was following Julie. All the way back to her apartment."
"Jesus fuck." Not Julie. No. "What did he look like?"
"Like--like some punk. Kinda short, tough-looking, little bit of beard. Kind who thinks women are gonna crawl all over his dick just because he works out and wears cheap fuckin' body spray." Gino leans in close. "Angie, I'm gonna handle this," he says. "Me, Feigelstein, and the guys. I just want to know if you want Julie to know, or if you just want her to think the guy's disappeared."
"Fuck," Angelo says again. "Goddamn motherfucking cunt."
"I know, I know, Angie. I'm sorry. They're all cunts, fuck 'em. Don't mean that--"
Angelo doesn't let him finish. "Tell Vanderwhile I had to go," he says without even looking in Jimmy's direction. "I'm taking care of this myself."
"Angie, no." Gino actually tries to step in front of him. Baby brother should know better. "Angie, don't make this like Nadine all over again--"
"It's nothing like Nadine, Gino. It's worse. I fuckin' love this bitch, Gino, and she pulls this. I can't--I gotta do it myself."
"Aw, fuck, Angie."
But Gino knows better than to try twice to stop him. Instead he comes along with Angelo, silent the whole way in the car, while Angelo feels the sick, satisfying weight of his two automatics beneath the lapels of his three-grand Versace suitcoat. The same goddamn guns he'd holstered when he got dressed, Julie still in the bed, before he left Julie's apartment not even four hours ago. Aw, fuck is right.
Feigelstein--Angelo assumes it's Feigelstein; Gino's the one who brought him in and says he's good at cleaning up messes, and the guy looks like his name to Angelo--is waiting in the lobby of Julie's apartment building. The doorman's made himself scarce, smart guy.
Angelo's got a key, naturally, but fuck that, he needs something to get broken, and at one look from him, Feigelstein's got out his own gun, silencer already on the barrel, and shoots the lock, jams his foot against the door and breaks it open for Angelo to push his way inside, heading straight for the bedroom. Four thousand square feet of prime real estate that he's paying for, so Julie can live somewhere nice, can stay in love with him, can want to say yes when he asks her to marry him, soon, so soon he wanted it, and this is what she does to him? She invites some--
--and, Christ, yeah, he's at the open bedroom door, and the noises, Christ, that punk is on his Julie, pounding her so hard it's like a goddamn porno flick, bed banging so loud they didn't hear a thing when Angelo came in, haven't even paused until Julie sees him and screams, and the punk falls off her and off the bed and--
--fuck, he is a punk, isn't he. Gino called it right. Next to him Gino's saying, "Angie, Angie," like it means shit.
Julie's sobbing, just like that. His beautiful Julie, that red hair in her face and those huge eyes of hers already spilling like faucets, while the punk is staggering to his feet and looks white as a sheet, looks like he's going to puke any minute, and Angelo hasn't even pulled out a gun yet. Christ. Angelo wants to puke himself, just looking at the guy. Little bastard looks like he wants to be a tough guy, probably never even touched a gun in his punk-ass life. Got those muscles at some pussy gym; wears motherfucking khakis to church.
Jesus fuck, they weren't even using a condom.
"How come, Julie?" he asks, quiet like he'll never have any louder voice again.
"Angelo." She never calls him Angie. Knows how he hates it from everyone except Gino. Those bee-stung lips of hers press together, tremble. "Angelo, honey, I'm--I'm so sorry."
"He better than me, Julie? Is that how come?" He watches Julie's mouth open and close on a sob. He can't look at the punk. Wants to tell him to put his goddamn pants on so he doesn't have to look at his goddamn condom-less dick. Did he go down on Julie? Does this fucking punk know what her snatch tastes like?
It's always going to be like this, isn't it. All of them. Nadine. Julie. Julie.
He pulls the gun out of the right holster, slow. Hears Julie whimper as he holds it out, not by the grip but by the barrel. Right towards the punk.
"Take it," Angelo says. "Take it, you fuck." He tosses it into the punk's hands. Stupid fuck bobbles it and almost drops it. "Take the shot," says Angelo. Julie whimpers again. He doesn't look at her. "Take it and don't fucking miss, 'cause I'm only giving you time for one, you sad-ass piece of shit fuck."
"Angelo," Julie whines--Jesus, he's never heard her whine in his life--just as Gino behind him breathes, "Angie--"
"I said take the goddamned motherfucking shot!"
It all happens fast. The punk lifts the gun and Angelo knows he's going to miss even before he squeezes the trigger; the punk's never fired shit, grip all wrong, no clue the kick's coming. Angelo barely breathes through the report, doesn't even need to pause to look at Gino to make sure he's okay, the shot's gone completely wide on the other side. Angelo's got his other pistol in his hand already, and the punk's scrambling backward, fucking up Angelo's aim for a head shot, but that doesn't matter. One squeeze of the trigger before the punk can get his gun back into anything like an aiming position and Angelo's got him in the chest, fucking awful mess over the wall, the bed, over Julie who's screaming her fucking head off.
The punk isn't. He isn't going to say anything or fuck anything ever again.
Even Julie isn't trying to help him. She's sobbing, "Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit," over and over, and finally, "You didn't have to, Angelo!"
"You're gonna give me that? You're gonna give me that? Sweet fuckin' Christ, Julie."
"He didn't matter, Angelo!" Julie's got the sheet in her hands, not trying to wipe off the splatter but like if she keeps it between her and him she's going to be safe. "It wasn't anything to do with him, if it hadn't been him it'd been someone else because it's you, Angelo!" Her face is still so beautiful, with those tears. How can she still be this goddamn beautiful? "You're a gangster and you're never going to change, you sick bastard."
Now she's going to say she hates him, the way Nadine did just before he shot her. But Angelo isn't going to be able to pull the trigger this time, not like Nadine, because this is Julie, his perfect Julie, and he can't hurt her like that, he can't, not to Julie.
"He was just some guy who wasn't you, Angelo, who wasn't a crook, wasn't a killer, not some monster like you--I needed to feel clean, Angelo, after you fuck me, I can feel you rotting when you're inside me, when you touch me, I can't wash it off because it gets on me from you and nothing washes it--Angelo, no--"
He doesn't even realize he's lifting the gun until she's screaming his name like that and then it's too late to listen; he drills her through the chest like he did for the punk, and the perfect lie of his Julie died five seconds ago when she opened her mouth and said that to him, so apparently he can. Kill her, that is. Huh. How about that.
"Jesus," says Gino. "Jesus fucking Christ, Angelo."
"Forget it," Angelo says, as though Gino was apologizing. His voice sounds like it's coming from someone else. They aren't his words, but he has to say something. "My fault," he tries. "My fault, thinking I could have something nice. Not gonna happen, I guess." He tries out a hollow little bark of a laugh. "Not ever gonna happen."
He tosses the gun at the bodies. "You gonna take care of this for me, right?" he says to Gino, turning away. He knows the answer. He never needs to look at any of this again.
"Yeah," says Gino. "Yeah, I got it. Leave it to Feigelstein, he'll call the guys." Feigelstein's hung back, but he's in Angelo's line of vision in the living room, gun already holstered again, arms folded. Good. Gino pays the motherfucker enough.
And on top of everything, it means his mama was right.
Feigelstein, which is not his real name, makes the dummy call on his cell where Gino can see, then waits until Gino Marioni has followed his brother out of the apartment before he takes out his silenced pistol once more. Stepping into the gory bedroom scene, he positions himself to face the spot where Angelo Marioni faced down a shaking punk of a guy who couldn't hit that beefy target from six paces away. He aims, using a far more professional stance and puts a bullet into the wall just the the left of where Marioni was standing. Plaster spatters and sheds into the carpet below.
The man whose name is not Feigelstein turns and regards the two bodies.
"We may never stop ragging on you for that one, you know," he murmurs.
It's an apartment, and it's comfortably far from Manhattan, or Queens, or any location Angelo Marioni is likely to be in the next three months of his life, which, according to SHIELD's calculations of the man's usefulness, will be all he's got left to live.
"Really," says Coulson as Clint emerges from the bathroom, still wet from the shower and wearing nothing more concealing than a towel. "We may never stop."
"Did you see the way Clint's hands were shaking as he was pretending to aim?" says Natasha, on Clint's heels, using her towel only to squeeze the water from her hair, not bothering to cover anything else. "That was my favorite part."
"I was aiming," Clint insists. He cranes his head over his shoulder to check his back. "Did I get all the latex off? Extractions like these are so fucked. Especially doing them naked. The tech and the makeup takes for-fucking-ever."
"They're convincing, you have to admit," Natasha says. "The mark never bothers to check."
"Yeah, well, it isn't as if everything ever goes to plan." Clint flops on the couch; no one can flop like he can. "Nothing you said gave me any idea Marioni was going to give me a goddamn gun."
Natasha doesn't blink, only sits down next to him. "Clint, darling, I'm good, but it wasn't as if I could pick and choose which pistol I should fill with blanks and which I could leave bullets in. Think you would have complained if I did that."
"I complained enough that it was four whole months you were on this cover." Clint lets a single finger sketch over Natasha's bare shoulder. "Missed you pretty bad."
"That's not all you missed," Coulson says, dog-with-a-bone clinging to the same refrain.
"You're never going to stop, are you?"
"Nope. Your reputation's gone, Barton."
"If SHIELD didn't want Marioni alive for a few more months, I wouldn't have had to miss, we wouldn't have needed the extraction, and Natasha wouldn't have had to take the cover in the first place. Four goddamn months, Phil."
Phil lets his jibe of a smile turn into something softer. "I know. I don't much enjoy the long games either."
Natasha kisses Clint on the temple. "For a moment there you looked like you were really going to defend me from him. That was sweet."
"For a moment there I thought he was going to let you live after all. Nice touch with that 'rotting.' Think you broke the guy's heart for good."
A shrug from Natasha, dismissive. "I had worse prepared. After what he did to the last girl, I wasn't sure if it would be easy for him or if he'd need a push."
Phil grunts. "You're a little too lovable at this, Natasha."
"I get practice, showing my softer side, you know." She presses closer to Clint's side, but is looking at Phil. "Are we going to waste time pretending to feel sorry for a homicidal thug who's just about outlived his usefulness and barely hesitates before murdering his unfaithful girlfriends?" She puts one arm about Clint's shoulders and reaches her other hand towards Phil.
"Hell no," says Clint.
"Good." She sets another kiss on the side of Clint's face. "Take me into the bedroom and finish what you started, Barton. And you--" the fingers of her outstretched hand gesture, "don't you try to duck out of this."
"You're sure, Natasha?" Phil asks. She nods, and Phil and Clint both know better than to ask twice.
Some agents would leave an assignment like this wanting weeks and months before they could allow the same kind of intimacy again; Natasha heals differently. Beside her, Clint pulls her into the circle of his arms, pressing a kiss to the dip between her breasts and slipping the fingers of his other hand between her legs to get her wet. Coulson stands and sets about undressing completely, ready to join them on the couch right here or precede them into the bedroom if that's what they want. Whatever Natasha needs, her boys can give her.
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