Summary: Clint invites his new tracksuit-beating friend over to the Tower for sparring practice. Probably more entertaining than it sounds... Author's ramblings at the end.

Warnings: Nothing major, just a curse word or 2.

Disclaimer: I don't own, you no sue.


Sparring Practice

"Can someone tell me why the Black Widow and the Dread Pirate Roberts are trying to beat each other up?"

Pepper turned her attention away from her work display, to peer over her shoulder at Tony striding towards her. "What?"

Tony's only response was to make an exaggerated swiping motion over his phone, which brought up a second holographic display, this one showing the camera feed from the gym five floors below. The hologram had four two foot high figures, three of them easily recognized as Clint, Steve, and Natasha, all barefoot and dressed in loose work-out clothing. Stark stabbed his finger at the forth figure, who was also dressed in sweats and oddly enough, a black cloth that concealed the upper half of his face, "Him. Why is Westley in our gym?"

Making a pinching motion with her hand, Pepper shut down her display and came up to the miniature version of the gym, standing across from Tony. "Oh, that's Daredevil—Clint met him last month when they ended up following different leads to the same Russian mobsters and they've stayed in contact since then. Clint invited him over for some sparring practice."

Squinting one eye down at the holographic representation of their surprise guest, Tony moved through the projection to stand next to Pepper. "Huh…thought he'd be taller…" He was quiet for a moment as he watched Natasha and the infamous Devil of Hell's Kitchen start to square off. "Shouldn't he have, like, horns or something? And what's with the mask? Not like we're gonna broadcast this…"

"I asked him the same thing, and he just finds it more comfortable to work out like this. And unlike some people," Pepper nudged Tony in the side, "he prefers his privacy."

"Wait, you've met him already? And nobody thought to introduce me?"

"You and Bruce were busy playing with your toys in the lab—if we'd come in, you would have whined about being interrupted."

"Well, now I'm whining about being left out… And how does he see through that thing?"

Pepper just rolled her eyes. "You'll manage somehow. Now hush, I want to see how he does against Nat…"

Tony pouted, but actually did as he was told and joined Pepper in watching the two start to spar. He idly noted how the man held up his wrapped fists, guarding his chest and head, and wondered how Happy would fare in the boxing ring with the vigilante. And then Natasha attacked, letting loose with a flurry of quick jabs and kicks that her masked opponent easily dodged with a quick fluid grace before lashing out with a few strikes of his own, none of which landed either. Happy'd get whooped… This pattern continued for some time, with each sending out an experimental kick or punch, but never tagging their opponent. Clint could be seen cheering and Tony asked for audio.

"-op playing with the new guy, Nat! He isn't going to learn anything if you go easy on him!"

The way the 'new guy' tilted his head made it easy for Tony to picture him cocking a brow underneath his mask. "…Easy?"

"Just testing the waters," shrugged Natasha. "Sorry." The former assassin attacked again, and this time she did not hold back. Daredevil could not get a shot in, as he was forced to constantly stay on defense, ducking and blocking every strike and blow, and even when he pulled off some acrobatic moves to give him some breathing space, Natasha quickly closed the gap and pressed the attack. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she managed to slip past his defenses—deflecting a high kick had left his right side exposed and she took advantage of the momentary weakness and landed a hard blow against his ribs. He cried out and suddenly found himself pulled down, a pair of strong legs wrapped around his chest, squeezing the life out of him, and Natasha's arms locked around his throat in a choke hold. Despite the size difference, Daredevil could not pry the Black Widow loose, and just as it looked like he was going to pass out, he tapped the mat.

Natasha promptly released him and patted him on the head and would have ruffled his hair if it had been exposed. "Not bad, rookie. Not bad." Extracting herself out from beneath her defeated opponent, she popped up to her feet, and snatched the water bottle Clint had tossed at her out of the air.

"Low blow, Nat," Clint scolded. "Not like the guy had his ribs busted up last week…"

"I wasn't trying to break anything."

Daredevil had rolled onto his hands and knees and had forced himself to his feet. Rubbing his sore side, he accepted a second bottle from Clint. "Could've fooled me…" he grunted.

Clint allowed the two fighters recover before an evil smile spread across his face. "So, how would you like to make this a bit more interesting…?" All watching Clint, including Pepper and Tony, frowned as the archer backed away and dug out two pairs of what looked like heavy-duty sunglasses—Tony recognized them: night vision glasses. "Maybe a little game of hide-n-seek…?" He motioned Natasha and her masked opponent to the far corners of the mat. "JARVIS?" he called out, putting on one pair of glasses while handing Steve the other. "Could you kill the lights?"

The hologram went black before it flickered back to life in ghostly shades of black, grey and white, and it didn't take the observers long to realize that the tone of this fight was going to be completely different: the first fight had been in your face, complete with flashy and aggressive moves, but this one looked like a game of Cat & Mouse and it was Natasha who was the mouse. She had moved from her corner of the mat towards the center, but without the night-vision glasses, her steps were slow and deliberate, and Tony could see her slightly furrowed brow as she tried to pick up where her opponent was in the darkened gym. Daredevil, on the other hand, was moving around her like it was the middle of the day, his steps light and silent. He tossed something small and white in his hand a few times before he whipped that hand out, sending the water bottle's cap ricocheting off a pillar that was on the far side of the mat and thudding into the punching bag 10 feet away from it.

"Holy shit…!" Tony hissed. That was not a lucky shot, he thought as he watched Natasha's head snap toward the noise, and away from Daredevil, only for her to bring it back to its original position, her fists coming up as she tensed, waiting for an attack that never came.

Instead of attacking, Daredevil, who was now casually standing just outside Natasha's reach at her 4 o'clock, had what looked like an introspective look on what little was exposed of his face before a smirk tugged one corner of his mouth up. He darted in and lightly tapped Natasha on her left shoulder, darting back out before her foot lashed out to where she thought he'd be. This move was repeated again, this time Daredevil's fingers brushing across the back of her neck.

"Oh my god!" cried Pepper. "He's playing with her!"

"…He's a dead man."

The two fighters were back to circling each other—Natasha had easily caught on to what was happening and kept moving, forcing Daredevil to keep moving as well, but that didn't mean his little hit-n-run tactics changed. A tap on her wrist…a pull on the back of her tank top…a light kick to her shin…a tug on her hair…even a ballsy move where he got close enough to blow in her ear… And the entire time he was teasing the Black Widow, Daredevil wore a child-like smile—he was thoroughly enjoying himself.

"Yup. Dead man."

And Natasha was getting irritated. "Is this how you kicked the Russians out of Hell's Kitchen?" she snarled. "By annoying them?"

Daredevil chuckled—a warm sound that was in sharp contrast with his violent reputation. "Just keeping it interesting…" He darted back in again, poking her in the side, but this time, he didn't pull away—he grabbed one of her wrist, spun her around and gave the back of one her knees a sharp kick, knocking her off balance. Tony's brows raised as they watched Daredevil slam Natasha face-down onto the mat, his knee pinning the small of her back and her captured wrist twisted up towards her shoulders, preventing her from lashing out at him. The IR camera easily picked up the cocky smirk on the man's lips as he lowered himself towards the woman's ear.

"Ready to call it?"

Off to the side of the display, Clint could be seen covering his face with a hand as he groaned, "Oh, no…he's in for it now…"

Nat only tossed her head, getting her hair out of her face, and though there was no way the man on top of her could see it, she smiled sweetly up at him, and whispered something only he could hear. Whatever it was, it was enough for him to jerk his head away, his jaw slack from shock.


It was Natasha's turn to smirk. "Oh, I have very good memories of that mouth of yours…"

"Wait—what?!" Tony shrieked, even as the couple watched the Black Widow somehow slip out of Daredevil's hold (later, when Tony watched the feed in slow-mo, he could not figure out how she did it) and quickly reversed their positions, making the masked man eat mat. The billionaire didn't hear or see anything that happened next, as he was already at the elevator doors, frantically stabbing the down button. "I have GOT to meet this guy!"


A/N: Yeah, I have no idea where these ideas (dumb ideas at that) keep coming from. Daredevil has become the bane of my existence, especially this week...this is me not studying for my finals or working on my Structural Geology final. This is definitely not gonna win any literary awards...another idea that had to be let loose into the wild-I just mostly enjoyed the mental image of Matt in his work-out clothes and the nice little gun show he puts on while in them...and I will miss that black urban ninja outfit he wore.../sigh/... Anyway! Half-tempted to do a follow-up, but I don't think I could do that beautiful disaster of a convo involving Tony any real justice... Any reviews would be much appreciated! ^_^