Chapter 1: Pretend It's Pretend

"You wanted to see me, Captain Rogers?" Pietro said.

"Yes, I did. Come on in, Pietro," said Steve, beckoning him into the office.

Pietro came inside, closing the door behind him. It was pretty clear by the lack of any sort of personalization to the room that Steve was still getting used to the idea of having an office. But as Tony had said, he was the boss and the boss gets an office. Steve was sitting at the desk, a pair of official-looking folders in front of him. Standing on the other side of the desk with his back to the door was Clint Barton. Pietro stepped forward to stand next to him, glancing over at him as his heart fluttered nervously.

"I've got a mission for the pair of you," said Steve. "Deep undercover spywork, though there could be some action depending on what you find. Of course, the nature of your covers is kind of... unusual, so if either of you is uncomfortable with it, we'll have to figure out a new strategy."

"What's the job?" Clint asked.

"There's a two-week weapon developers convention in Boston, and one of the guests is a terrorist who we've had on our radar for a while now. He's been working his way up in some big weapon manufacturing companies, getting himself respected enough to be invited to these events. Our intel says that he's planning to set off a bomb at the end of the convention. Your job is to take him out as discreetly as possible, find the bomb, and deactivate it."

"That sounds easy enough," said Pietro.

"There's a catch," Steve continued. "This convention is highly exclusive, invite-only, and they have rigorous security, so there's virtually no way to sneak in. However, there is a way you can find our terrorist without ever going to the convention."

"And what's that?"

"There's a two-week long Pride event happening at the exact same time as this weapons convention, and they've rented out the same hotel that the convention did for their guests. We managed to snag a room before they all got booked, but now we just need a couple of agents to fill it," said Steve.

"Let me guess: that's us," said Clint.

"If you're both comfortable with it, of course," Steve replied. "Two weeks of pretending to be a happy couple while scoping out the target and his bomb. The details are in these folders if you decide to go through with it."

"I'm game," said Clint with a shrug. "Pietro?"

Pietro gulped. Pretending to be madly in love with the man he was madly in love with? Easy. Except for the fact that he was supposed to be pretending. But what the hell? He had been itching for something exciting to do, and what could be more exciting than his first undercover mission? And having Clint, a seasoned assassin and spy, as his partner... that would be reason enough to do it, even if Pietro wasn't head over heels thirsty for every moment in his presence.

"Sure," he said. "When do we leave?"

"Five days," said Steve. "Here are your briefings. Make sure to memorize every detail about your covers, as well as the information on your target."

Pietro took the folder and looked inside. There was information about the event and their target, and a whole fake story about his and Clint's fake relationship. Good thing Pietro was a decent liar; he would barely have to work to sell the being in love with Clint part, but pretending he had any sort of normal life was another thing altogether.

"You ready for this, kid?" Clint asked.

"You can't call me 'kid', I'm your fake boyfriend now," Pietro teased.

He had very purposely used the word "fake", more as a reminder to himself than anything else. He wasn't Clint's boyfriend and he never would be, because Clint had a girlfriend and it was a miracle Natasha was letting him even do this mission. The job came first, he supposed. Natasha always did keep things professional.

"Oh right, I'm sorry, honey," Clint teased back.

Despite the sarcastic emphasis, the pet name still managed to make Pietro's heart flutter nervously again. God help him, maybe this would be harder than he thought.