A!U: When Annalee is sent on a mission that turns out to be a trap she is declared missing after a week of no communications. S.H.I.E.L.D sends out a rescue team but their efforts are in vain when they find there are no traceable signs of her kidnappers, but her blood is found at the scene. The search continues for a month, and then slowly begins to die out. Aside from the closest people to her no one believes it’s possible that she’s still alive, especially with no ransom or bargain from her kidnappers. Her parents still continue their search for hear, tracking down any possible lead they can until it dies into nothing like the rest. Even some of their closest and most powerful allies and friends are unable to help them find their lost daughter. Very few people are kept up on the search, including Peter, because even if Natasha or Clint didn’t contact him he found some way to contact them. Peter being left wit no trace of his girlfriend searches through the crime gossip via Spider Man’s power. Giving crooks the chance to give up any possible information that already he knows they won’t have but still tries. After the three month mark passes is when the others begin to lose hope, Natasha buries herself in missions inside and outside of S.H.I.E.L.D, Clint does the same while continuing his searches, sometimes with Natasha and sometimes without.
It’s not until the fourth months that Annalee is found, not by S.H.I.E.L.D or her parents, or Peter, but by the NYPD when there is a call from a anonymous caller that there is a fight happening outside of their apartment between a man and a woman. By the time the first cop car arrives the man is gone, leaving a disheveled and malnourished female at the scene who refused to go with the police. Using the last of her efforts to get them to listen long enough to call Clint and have him explain everything. The weary movements her body makes barely able to hold her up after the fight. Clint is at the scene faster than it would be thought possible and defending his daughter. One of the local bystanders is the one to provide the police sketch and while this is happening Clint is sly enough to get his daughter away without further attention.
Within the hours following Natasha returns to S.H.I.E.L.D to be reunited by her daughter, Clint not having left her side for nearly the entire time. When the tests were run or when they attempted to get her to eat, but the sight of food made her sick. It’s Clint though who calls Peter when Annalee begins to look a little less like death, and it’s Steve who accompanies his son onto SHIELD base. Though when he gets there Annalee is with the doctor once more, leaving Clint and Natasha to greet him with the news that yes, she is alive. The doctor doesn’t allow anyone in the rest of the night even after Natasha’s deadly glare because he doubts she’ll be awake. No one leaves though, Clint sits right next to the door, Natasha paces for awhile, Steve talks for awhile but eventually silences himself out, Peter is stuck in the middle of it all just glad to hear the word alive.
She isn’t let out for a few weeks, until around a month when her health seems it’s closest to what good would be since they last saw her. Annalee isn’t the same though, she’s silent, nervous, jumpy, nightmares haunt her so she barely sleeps. The secrets she heard while in captivity stay locked behind her lips even when she is questioned by SHIELD. There are no more answers needed because all but one is dead that held her captive, and the last got away and she doubted she would ever see the coward again. She had escaped to America again from the UK, and he had followed but never ad the ability to capture her and keep her. No one questions her when she hands in her S.H.I.E.L.D badge and walks out of the Directors office without a further word. Her green eyes a shade darker as she exists out into the light of the real world once more.
The month following this she stays with her parents, and when she’s not with them she finds her safety in Stark tower. Where Tony spends the time that Peter is at School showing her what he’s got coming up for the suit, appreciating the silence that accompanies her observation aside from a question or comment, a rare laugh escaping her lips occasionally.
Sometimes it’s Steve who sits with her and they talk about the war, and the changes he made and the people he saved, sometimes the people he lost. Annalee tells him how Phil used to tell her similar stories when she was a kid, and adds how aside from her parents he was her hero growing up. Then when Peter gets home she tends to stay by his side, just as he does hers unless he’s needed to save the city again. Even then she covers for him, making sure his parents don’t find out where he is. They stay by each others side whenever possible though, because she feels safe around him, and he wants to keep her as safe as he can now that he’s lost her once. There are times where she falls asleep there, sometimes watching him work on something for the suit or sometimes when they are watching T.V. Tony and Steve never say anything, Peter usually falls asleep right along with her, but every time she still wakes up with the nightmares. Peter pretends he doesn’t notice for awhile, but then he begins questioning, only to be denied answers from her.
Tony tells him to give her space and Steve tells him him the same thing without hesitation. That’s what he does, until she begins to pull away from him completely, rarely showing up and when she does the nightmares are worse and even he is stirred awake when she wakes up with a jump. Questions following questions as he wants to help her, but she want’s to push it away. The fights start this way, and soon enough she comes over once a week, and that’s when the warning signs start to show. He knows she’s planning to leave, by the way she acts, the same characteristics as when she would leave on missions.
It’s the night she stops by the tower looking the day she did when she turned her badge in. A dangerous green tint to her eyes that makes Peter wonder if the girl who was so vulnerable weeks before sleeping by his side is there. She tries to let him down gently but it ends with an argument, the green spark in her eye dying into the scared girl he’s been accompanied by these past few weeks. When she tries to walk away he won’t let her, he would never lay his hands on her, but the web shooter connected to his wrists sends out enough length to pull her to him again. Where silence over laps the two for a moment before Annalee’s eyes are locking with his, Green against blue in a match for answers.
Was she leaving?
Could she stay?
“I remember everything” is what she whispers, a shaky tone cutting off her words to a barely audible tone while she leans closer to him. Peter looks at her in silence, because after all the times she denied him that one answer she was denying herself it as well. In that moment they can both tell that she’s not going anywhere and he won’t let her go anywhere, and both of them find that’s exactly what they need after watching each other suffer at their worst from this attack.