|Reviews for Watch and Learn|
| Guest chapter 21 . 10/23/2017
I'm so sorry my computer's trackpad has been bugging out and clicking all over the place so that was a total accident. I absolutely adore this story and I'm so sorry for the weirdness of getting your entire chapter sent to you as a review, I can't even imagine how weird that must be
| Guest chapter 21 . 10/23/2017
Clint's alarm goes off at 5:00am, and he groans and slams his hand down on the snooze button. He gives himself to the count of three to sit up and throw his legs over his bed and then he's turning his alarm off and stumbling towards the shower. He could've slept in a little bit longer, but he'd wanted his last long, hot shower before going on a mission where he'll be lucky if he gets two hours of running water a day, let alone having it hot.
He showers and throws on a pair of SHIELD sweats and a plain cotton shirt before stumbling out to the kitchen for a cup of tea and breakfast. He mixes granola into a bowl of yogurt and adds some chopped up banana, and he eats, mechanical, as his water boils.
He hadn't gotten to sleep until past midnight, because every time he thought he should leave Coulson and go to bed, all he could see was Marshall's body lying dead on the floor of some warehouse, and Clint had leaned in for another kiss.
Eventually, Coulson had called it a night, but he lingered at Clint's door, kissing him one last time before going to his own room. It had taken more willpower than Clint wants to admit not to follow Coulson to his bed.
Something to look forward to when he comes home, Clint tells himself as he pours his hot water into a travel mug and drops a tea packet in. He leaves it on the counter to steep and goes back to his room to brush his teeth and grab his bag.
When he gets back to the kitchen, Coulson's leaning against the counter. He looks as tired at Clint feels, and Clint notes the coffee that's already started brewing.
"You have an early morning too?" Clint asks.
"Wanted to see you off." Coulson pulls Clint in for a brief kiss—too brief—and slips a flash drive into his hand. "Upload that to your Starkpod before you get on the jet."
"Thanks." Clint slips it into his pocket, and he lingers next to Coulson for a moment longer before summoning his strength and heading out.
There are two audio files on the drive, and Clint loads them to his Starkpod while he brushes up on his Ukranian again. He mutters to himself, quiet, even though Sitwell has his headphones in so can't hear him, as he repeats phrases over and over again.
Clint doesn't have a chance to listen to the files until he's settling into the apartment SHIELD's procured for him. It's nicer than the place he stayed in the last time he was here, but now that he's been promoted from fish hand to renaissance criminal, he supposes it makes sense.
He has easy roof access which means it's easier for him to get surrounded, but he also has the ability to escape both on the street and roof level which will probably end up coming in handy.
Once he's investigated all the nooks and crannies in the small space and evaluated all the possible entrances and exits, and evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of where he is, he gets ready for bed and starts scrolling through his Starkpod.
There's one file called Much Ado About Nothing and another called My Side of the Mountain. Clint recognizes Shakespeare so he clicks on that one first, and Natasha's voice comes through.
"Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Act One, Scene One: Before Leonato's house."
Clint smiles and leans back to listen as his team performs Much Ado About Nothing for him, and suddenly he doesn't feel quite so far away.
The next morning, Clint goes out to start reaching out to people. He goes first to the bakery down the street from him.
The owner isn't involved, but his brother is, and Clint only feels a little guilty about bringing trouble to the man's business. He buys two day's worth of bread and a breakfast pastry as a peace offering.
As he's eating his pastry, a man in a pair of dark pants and even darker jacket comes in and orders something that isn't on the menu. Clint picks apart his pastry as the owner apologizes for not having what he wants.
A moment later, the brother appears from the kitchen. "Ah, a specialty item?" he asks and Clint can hear the slimy smile in his voice. "Of course. It will take some time to make, but I can get anything you want."
"Olek," the owner protests.
Clint leaves his half-eaten pastry in the table, but he takes his bread with him as he saunters up to the counter. He flashes Olek and the newcomer a smile. "I'm sorry. You're into specialty items now? Is this a recent business expansion?"
Olek frowns. "Do I know you, sir?"
Clint's smile gets a touch more dangerous. "You're going to wish you didn't. I'm the man you're trying to replace. Is there a good place we can talk? I'm sure there's just a misunderstanding that we can easily work out." Clint reaches into his coat like he's going to pull a gun, and Olek pales.
"I'm not trying to replace anyone," Olek says. "I work in my brother's bakery. That's it."
Clint reaches into his pocket and pulls out the bullet that had killed Marshall. He sets it down on the counter. "So it's a coincidence that not a week after my guy is murdered, you're moving in on his territory?"
Olek's eyes look like they're about to pop out of his head, and he's starting to sweat. "I don't know what you're talking about. I swear." He looks to the customer for help, and Clint suspects that maybe Olek's telling the truth. He's been recruited to run weapons, because he has the bakery as a cover. It's the clients Clint should be pressing for information.
"In that case, you won't mind if I have chat with this gentleman about where to best procure his," Clint pauses, "specialty good." He nods to Olek, and wraps his hand around the customer's arm and hauls him out of the bakery.
"Who are you?" the man demands, twisting, trying to get free. "I just wanted pastry!"
"You're a terrible liar, and I don't have the patience for your games. I went on a well-earned vacation only to have to cut it short, because someone thought they'd start killing my men. So not only am I down an employee, but I didn't get the chance to work on my tan. Someone is going to pay for that, and right now, it's looking like it's going to be you."
"This is about Hedeon?" the man asks. "I heard what happened to him, but I had nothing to do with it. I liked him. Fair prices, didn't threaten too much. It was a good arrangement, but he's gone, and I still have needs. I had to find a new source. It's just business."
"Then why don't we do business," Clint says. "After all, everything that belonged to Hedeon belonged to me. I'll honor his contracts."
The man nods, and Clint lets him go with a small shove.
"Before you go," Clint says, and he smirks as the man's face drains completely of color. Clint flips him a coin. "Go get yourself a nice pastry. I'll meet you there at this time tomorrow to go over details."
Clint checks and cleans his guns that night when he gets back from exploring the small village. He also cleans his knives, and he puts together tomorrow's outfit, making sure there are enough places to hide his weapons.
It seems like Olek has replaced Marshall, but he knows nothing. Meaning Clint's going to have to rattle Olek's customers or even plain out steal them in order to get the big guy's attention. Of course, doing that is a good way for Clint to end up as dead as Marshall had.
He goes to his kitchen to make dinner, because going through the motions of cooking will help to calm him down. He's not going to die. He's going to find out who had killed Marshall, put a bullet in him, and go back home to Coulson and the Avengers.
Clint eats and makes his plan for tomorrow and then he goes back and listens to the next act of Much Ado and goes to bed.
Clint picks a roof diagonally across from the bakery, and he sits there for the two hours before his meeting with Kyrylo. It's why he notices the way Lyak seems nervous as he opens shop, why he knows that the fish stand across the street isn't supposed to be there and that the man delivering papers isn't the one who usually does it.
Clint slips from the roof and follows the paper man to the next building he's delivering to, a bar that isn't even open yet. Clint lets himself into the bar, and he pulls the paper man in, wrestling him to the ground, pinning him in a matter of seconds.
"I just deliver papers!" the man protest as Clint wraps a bit of rope around his wrists, pulling tight and looping the knots so there's no give.
"Bullshit," Clint says and he hauls the man to his feet. "You're on the lookout for me. Did a pretty shitty job seeing as I got the drop on you. Fish man working with you or are there several people that want me dead?"
The man spits at Clint's feet. He takes that as they're working together. He shoves a dirty rag in the man's mouth to keep him quiet and slips out to the fish man's stand. Clint gives a boy with sunken eyes and trembling hands enough money to buy a week's worth of fish and asks him to make a ruckus when he buys from Clint's target.
The boy, not wanting to lose the money, does as he asks, and Clint has no problem getting up behind the fish vendor without being noticed. He slings his arm around the man's shoulder, and his free hand is in his pocket, presses the butt of his gun against the man's side.
"Friend!" Clint says, overly cheerful as the man stiffens next to him. "You've been working hard this morning. Come, get a drink with me. I'll even pay."
Clint half-drags the man to the bar with him, and as soon as they're through the doors, the man moves. Clint's expecting it, and he ducks out of the way of the man's first swing. The second catches him across the jaw, but Clint lands a punch of his own as well as a kick in quick succession, and after only a small scuffle, he has this one subdued too.
They're both bound and sitting side by side, and Clint pats them both down, coming up with two knives, a gun, and a garrote a piece.
He tsks as he sets the weapons aside. "You brought a lot of weapons." He lifts up one of the garrotes. "You really thought I was going to let you close enough to use this?" He shakes his head. "You two are the sloppy ones, not me."
The fish vendor growls something behind the rag Clint's stuck in his mouth.
"I'm going to assume that was an unimaginative threat," Clint says. "No doubt, you two were sent to kill me, because your boss has heard that I'm here to avenge my associate. Now that I'm here, I've decided to make myself a bit of competition as well. Which means I'm going to need some employees."
Clint gathers up the weapons and he takes most of them to the far corner of the bar. He sets two knives on the floor, facing each other. "How do you feel about interviewing?"
Clint wanders around to the bar, and he pulls a bottle of cheap vodka off the shelf. He opens it and takes the rag out of fish vendor's mouth and shoves the bottle in.
"A shot of courage," Clint says, laughing as the man tries to swallow, but there's too much and a lot of the vodka ends up spilling out of his mouth and down his shirt.
He gives the paper man the same treatment.
"Anyone up for seconds?" Clint asks.
They both glare at him and Clint shrugs. "I'm sure you've figured it out, but I only want one of you. And I want the best. So, I'm going to let you both go, and it's a fight to the death. Whoever is still alive at the end, is my new Hedeon. You try to escape or to kill me," Clint pulls a gun out of his pocket. "And I'll recruit somewhere else."
Clint smiles, too many teeth to be friendly, and cuts their bonds enough that with some struggling they'll be able to snap the rope. And then Clint goes to the other side of the room and watches, ready to shoot if things start to go south.
Paper man gets out of his bonds first, and he gets to both knives as fish vendor slips his rope. Fish vendor grabs the bottle of vodka, and he takes a chug before rushing the paper man. One smashed vodka bottle and several cuts later and a stab later, both men are lying on the floor. Fish vendor is bleeding out, paper man is unconscious.
There's glass and vodka and blood all over the floor.
Clint kills the paper man and goes to the bakery.
"Sorry I'm late," Clint says as he slides into the chair across from Kyrylo. "Had some business to take care of." Kyrylo jumps at the sound of Clint's voice. Clint's smile is far from pleasant. "Surprised to see me? Did you hire those two men or is there someone out there watching over you?"
Kyrylo stutters and almost spills his coffee.
Clint catches the cup before it spills, and he watches as Kyrylo's eyes dart to the blood stain on Clint's sleeve. "I hope you didn't hire them, because it would've been a waste of money." Clint grins and leans in. "You're clearly working with your supplier even though I've made you a better offer. Tell him that he killed one of mine so I killed two of his, and in my book, we're even now. Got it?"
Kyrylo nods. Clint snatches his pastry and walks out.
Clint lays low for a while. He keeps an eye on the bakery, and he tracks Kyrylo's movement and to a lesser extent he follows Olek.
He's there when the clean-up crew comes in for the fish vendor and the paper man, but that doesn't lead anywhere. It's just two men who drag the bodies out and burn them. They don't bring Clint to anyone higher up in the food chain and as far as he can tell, they're men hired specifically to deal with dead bodies. Useless then.
Kyrylo is equally useless. Clint isn't sure how he gets the message to whoever killed Marshall, but the day after Clint's little stunt, there are three people guarding him. They're still easy to spot, but they're looking out for each other meaning Clint isn't going to try and grab them. Not that he was going to anyways. He's waiting for someone worth his time.
Olek continues to talk to the occasional customer about specialty goods, but Clint hasn't seen him meet with anyone either. He has, however, watched the frown lines in Lyak's forehead deepen by the day. Lyak's discovered what Olek is doing or at least knows that his brother is up to no good, and he doesn't like it. Clint can use that to his advantage.
He bides his time for two weeks, giving things a chance to settle, and in that time he doesn't have a lot of downtime, but he manages to finish Much Ado.
On the night he makes plans for his next move, he plays My Side of the Mountain, and he grins like an idiot when Coulson's voice, warm and steady pours through his headphones. He stays up an hour later than he was intending to just to listen to Coulson tell him the tale of a boy who runs away from home and adopts a peregrine falcon.
The next morning, Clint goes to the bakery right when it opens, and there's no one there except for him and Lyak.
Lyak's eyes narrow when he sees Clint. "You've brought trouble here. You're not welcome."
Clint admires a man who will stick to his principles even when it could cost him a profit. Or his life. Of course, Clint has no desire to kill Lyak. He tries to avoid killing innocents.
"I'm not the one who brought the trouble," Clint says and he leans against the counter. "I'm only here to end it."
Lyak reaches for his knife, and it isn't until he has it securely in his grip that he looks interested. "You want to end it?"
Clint nods. "A friend of mine was killed a few weeks back. The man who killed him is the same one who has pulled your brother into his illegal dealings." Lyak's mouth twists at the reminder of what his brother's doing. "I want to remove the man from this area."
Lyak shakes his head. "You mean you want to remove him from this life."
Clint shrugs. "Semantics."
"I don't like killers," Lyak says. "Were you behind the deaths at the bar?"
"I heard that was a drunken brawl," Clint says, adopting his best innocent face. "All I want is your brother's employer."
"I can't help you," Lyak says. "I don't know who he is."
Clint knows better than to push right now so instead he, slowly, pulls out a couple coins. "In that case, could I have three loaves of bread?"
Lyak frowns like he's not sure what to make of Clint's behavior but after a moment he shrugs and goes to get the bread.
It's fresh out of the oven so Clint rips off a piece and eats it while it's hot. He gives Lyak a salute and goes back to his apartment.
Time for the next stage in his plan.
Kyrylo is picking up a shipment of weapons in four days. Clint's gathered that much from following Kyrylo and listening to his conversations with Olek. Clint also knows, from a quick search of Kyrylo's apartment, what the satchel that's going to hold the money looks like.
It takes Clint thirty minutes to track down an identical one. It takes him almost the full four days to counterfeit enough money for the payment. He has no idea why SHIELD thought part of his kit for this op should be a printing press, but he's incredibly grateful.
On the night that Kyrylo's set to make the exchange, Clint dresses in fleece lined pants and a puffy jacket so he looks bigger than he is. He also wraps a scarf tight around his neck and puts his hood up. Between the clothes and the dark, he's confident that no one's going to recognize him or even get a partial look at his face.
Switching the satchels is easy, and the thrill of it reminds Clint of his younger days at the circus when he made his money pick pocketing. Trick had put a stop to that, claiming that it was bad for business, but he'd opened Clint to more lucrative businesses so Clint hadn't been too upset. Why settle for forty bucks in cash when you get could a couple grand in jewelry?
Clint stashes the satchel with the real money up in the tree next to the village marker, and he ditches his puffy coat and pants there as well and changes into a more functional fighting outfit. By the time he's in his cargo pants and long sleeve and has all his weapons strapped into place, Kyrylo has enough of a head start that Clint can start following him.
Clint finds a new tree to perch in, and he watches the exchange through his binoculars. Kyrylo inspects the guns, tests one out, and hands over his satchel. Olek flips through the money, and, satisfied, they part.
Clint waits for the entire area to clear before going back to his tree and collecting his clothes and the money.
Clint goes to the bakery the next morning and only buys one loaf, telling Lyak that he'll be back in tomorrow.
When he arrives, Lyak is scared, and he fumbles through the loaves of bread before handing them over. He wraps one in yellow paper, the rest in white, and he puts the yellow one on top.
"Eat this one first," he says.
Clint nods and takes the bread home. When he breaks the loaf, he finds a piece of paper rolled up inside.
Vasyl. He's going to kill Olek. Please help.
Clint grins and slips out to find a secure place to make a call.
He stays in the area as Sitwell goes to his contacts to dig up what he can on Vasyl. Clint considers calling Coulson or Natasha, and then he reminds himself that he's a professional and instead waits for Sitwell's report.
Vasyl, aka The King, is man behind the weapons trafficking. He also owns a very lucrative casino in the city, and he's the kind of man that keeps his hands clean so that he can live large and enjoy the money he makes from his dealings.
Clint's glad that he's the show type and not the hidden behind-the-scenes type, because this makes it easier for Clint to do his job.
He ends his call with Sitwell and hitches a ride back to the village before going to pay Lyak a visit.
"This loaf is stale," Clint says, handing a loaf of bread, still in its bag, to Lyak. "I want two fresh ones or I'll get my bread elsewhere."
Lyak starts to look outraged and Clint looks pointedly at the bag. When Lyak's eyes widen, Clint knows that he's seen the money Clint shoved in there.
"Take a vacation," Clint says, quieter this time. "You and your brother lay low for a bit. Better yet, move. New names would be good."
Lyak looks around his shop, and Clint's sure he's seeing the improvements he's made, and familiar faces of regular customers and maybe even relatives, and Clint feels a pang o
| jj chapter 22 . 1/14/2017
wow i loved this ...and i stayed up way to late reading it to but it was so worth it nice job
| Guest chapter 1 . 5/18/2016
| TrianaStyx chapter 22 . 1/22/2014
This was awesome! Really really great. :)
| skie89 chapter 20 . 12/22/2013
This is an oddly emotionally turbulent story. I like it.
| Guest chapter 22 . 9/7/2013
I absolutely love your writing style. I was IMMEDIATELY sucked into the story and it only got worse as time went on. I truly connected with Clint on a level I don't think I've reached with any other character EVER. That alone makes me love it. I really understood a lot more about Clint and I completely understood where he was coming from in every situation and that is a testament to your wonderful writing. Great job and great ending!
| AlixNight chapter 16 . 8/7/2013
I love this story but I didn't realize how great your writing was until I was reading the scene where Clint was explaining what happened to the Coulson and the team. My throat constricted and I tensed up much like how I imagined Clint was going through. In past chapters, I empathized with Clint with his abandonment issues. I feel like I know Clint on a personal level after reading this. This rarely happens with books and never before with a fanfiction. I get enthrawled and addicted but it's never as personal and genuine as what you've accomplished here. Phenomenal.
| AlienTourist chapter 8 . 5/22/2013
I really really really like this so far! It's very good, very well-written and interesting. I should be going to bed now. There are some stories that I can put aside until morning, but this is NOT one of them. For some reason I'm not too torn up about that. Thanks for writing this!
| Felicity Queen chapter 1 . 3/31/2013
great story, i loved it :)
| Very Sincerely Yours chapter 22 . 3/5/2013
...I love you for this.
Amazing, really, everything I could have ever wanted. And you've nailed Clint's head so precisely that I can't even begin to describe anything! The details, the style, the short little endings to segments that were just so ** perfect.
I want to leave an amazing, long, complementary review like I usually do, go over everything with advice and critism and note all the good bits, but I've realised that sometimes, things are too good to summarize.
I've lost my words, and it's because of you.
| semirrhage chapter 22 . 1/14/2013
I've really loved reading this story. The way you've written the both of them. I think I might have to re-read it now...
| Niath chapter 22 . 12/14/2012
I heart Clint, but I am not a fan of slash. That being said, you roped me in and I really enjoyed this story.
| olimpia chapter 22 . 12/12/2012
Omg i love it! Absolutely brilliant..and loved barneys phone call! Btw great choice of the Breakfast club :D
| GalynSolo chapter 22 . 12/11/2012
Fantastic! Loved this story every bit of the way. Especially got a kick out of Clint and Natasha's text conversation; nice ending )