The soldiers were dead silent and it was starting to make Natasha twitchy. They were worried and that worried her. She wanted more alcohol but there was none in the Humvee besides her brother's and she wasn't about to steal his. Tony noticed his sister's discomfort and decided to try and indirectly comfort her. "I feel like you're driving us to a court-martial. This is crazy. What did we do?" Tony asked with typical Stark bluntness. "I feel like you're going to pull over and snuff us. What, you're not allowed to talk?" He asked the soldiers. Tony looked over at the soldier beside them. "Hey, Forrest!" He said which made Natasha snort.
"We can talk, sir." The soldier answered. He was young, younger than both Starks. Natasha marveled at that. He wasn't even a truly experienced adult yet and yet he was out defending the nation. It was impressive, at least to her.
"Oh, I see. So it's personal?" Tony asked.
"No, you intimidate them." The soldier driving explained.
"Good God, you're a woman!" Tony said and Natasha chuckled. "I honestly, I couldn't have called that." He admitted.
Natasha chuckled. "First time for everything." She said, nudging her brother playfully.
Tony nudged her back, smiling slightly, but kept his eyes on the driver. "I mean, I'd apologize but isn't that what we're going for here?" He asked. The two male soldiers smiled at that and Natasha couldn't help smiling along with them. "I thought of you as a soldier first." Tony said.
"I'm an airman." The driver corrected.
"You have, actually, excellent bone structure, there. I'm kind of having a hard time not looking at you now. Is that weird?" Tony asked. Natasha smiled as the soldiers all laughed, her brother was amazing at relieving tension. He'd even got highly disciplined soldiers to loosen up. "Come on, it's okay, laugh." Tony said, encouraging them as he smiled.
"Sir, I have a question to ask." The soldier in the passenger seat said.
"Yes, please." Tony said, looking over at his sister. Natasha smiled brilliantly at him before snatching his glass. He frowned at her as she took a drink but didn't say anything as she handed it back.
"Is it true you went twelve for twelve with last year's Maxim cover models?" The soldier asked.
Natasha snorted, nearly choking on the scotch she had been swallowing. She started laughing, covering her mouth with her hand as she did. Tony struggled to keep a straight face at his sister's unladylike display and just managed it by answering the soldier's question. "That is an excellent question." He said, removing his sunglasses. "Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict, but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins." He answered. Tony turned to his sister and nudged her. "Didn't you end up hooking up with a movie star that night?" He asked her playfully.
Natasha nodded, pulling herself together. "I did, I did. It was ummm something Evans. Chance? Christian? I don't know, something that started with a C." She said, shrugging nonchalantly.
"Is it true that you've been with a senator?" Passenger Soldier asked her
"Yes. I've also hooked up with the son of a very high up official at a charity benefit. We've kept in touch. We go out to eat when he's in town." Natasha answered smoothly. The second one had actually been the president's son, one of her most highly classed one night stands. He was actually rather charming, one of her best one night stands who didn't turn out to be a total ass.
"Anything else?" Tony asked, eager to move the conversation away from his sister's sex life. He knew it existed and he knew everyone knew about it but that didn't mean he felt comfortable talking about it. Tony turned his head and noticed the youngest soldier raising his hand. "You're kidding me with the hand up, right?" He asked.
The soldier paused for a second, looking nervous, but a quick smile from Natasha encouraged him to continue. "Is it cool if I take a picture with you two?" He asked, obviously a bit embarrassed.
"Yes, it's very cool." Tony answered and Natasha nodded her agreement.
The soldier's face lit up with a smile and he immediately pulled out a camera from one of the pockets on his uniform. He handed it to Passenger Soldier and leaned towards the two Starks who leaned towards him.
"I don't want to see this on your MySpace page." Tony said, sounding serious despite the fact that he was joking. Natasha lightly pinched his side, silently telling him to be nice. "Please, no gang signs." Tony said. The young soldier immediately put down the peace sign he'd been holding up, looking a tad embarrassed. Natasha pinched her brother's side a little harder, making him jump. "No, throw it up. I'm kidding." Tony said immediately, shooting his sister an annoyed look. The soldier grinned like a freakin' puppy and put his hand back up. "Yeah, peace. I love peace." Tony said, almost sarcastically. "We'd be out of a job with peace." He added, sending his sister a small smile.
Natasha chuckled at her brother while the soldier told his friend to hurry up with the picture. She was just turning to tell her brother something about peace when suddenly the Humvee in front of them exploded. Tony threw his arm up protectively in front of her as the driver slammed on the breaks, stopping Natasha from flying forward into the passenger seat. The second they were sitting back upright he wrapped his arm tightly around her waist, silently telling her not to panic despite his own shock and worry.
"What's going on?" Tony asked. None of the soldiers seemed to hear him though. "What have we got?!" He asked, this time a little louder. They gave no answer.
The driver got out of the Humvee, her gun ready, and was promptly shot down. Natasha couldn't stop the whimper that escaped her and she grabbed tightly onto her brother's jacket. "Jimmy, stay with the Starks!" Passenger Soldier shouted before getting out of the Humvee.
"Stay down!" Jimmy shouted, grabbing Natasha's shoulder and pushing her downwards so that her chest rested uncomfortably against her knees. Tony came down with her and they both stared out the front window, their eyes fixed on Passenger Soldier. There was a loud bang and suddenly the glass in front of Passenger Soldier broke. Tony let out a small fearful sound, jumping backwards. Natasha did too, leaning against her brother. She knew the soldier was dead, she couldn't see him behind the broken glass anymore. "Son of a bitch!" Jimmy shouted, cocking his gun. He started to climb out of the Humvee.
"Wait, wait, wait! Give me a gun!" Tony shouted after him, his words getting cut off slightly by Jimmy slamming the Humvee door.
"Stay here!" Jimmy shouted back through the glass.
Bullets suddenly littered the Humvee's side. Jimmy dropped, dead. Natasha screamed. Neither Stark heard the scream though as their ears started ringing. Tony looked out the window, looked for any sign that their side was winning. There wasn't one. He panicked. His grip on Natasha's waist tightened and suddenly he was pulling her out of the Humvee. She followed without question, like she'd been doing since they were kids. Her mind was telling her the same things over and over. Trust Tony. Go with Tony. Big bro always knows what to do. He'll get you out of this. Trust Tony.
Tony started pulling his sister away from the Humvee and she followed as explosions sounded off around them. They started running and Natasha didn't stop until her brother threw her down behind a rock. He slipped on the ground and crawled to the spot beside her, leaning against the rock the second he was sitting upright. He pulled out his phone and started dialing Obadiah's phone number.
Something whizzed by them and slammed into the ground just a few feet away from them. The two Starks looked over and both of them instantly recognized the name on the side of the missile. Stark Enterprise. Their company.
Tony was on his feet in a nanosecond, his eyes fixated on the missile. He pulled his sister to her feet and threw her behind him just as the missile exploded.
Natasha didn't see the missile explode, her view blocked by her brother. She felt it though. She was blown back off her feet and slammed into the ground just a few feet farther back than her brother. Her head slammed into something sharp and suddenly everything was gone. The explosions, the burning sun, the sounds of bullets raining down around them. Everything blurred out of existence until Natasha was floating in blackness, completely unconscious.