ledger, n.

definition: a book or collection of debts and balances

rating: k+

A/N: As promised, here's the second story! It's much shorter but I think about this scenario a lot. k+ rating is for mild language. Enjoy!

"There's red in my ledger. I'd like to wipe it out."

There was a reason why he never let her talk about debts. Why he cringed whenever she mentioned ledgers or favors or even Budapest.

She, along with everyone else, assumed that it was that he felt she didn't owe him anything. But that was only half of it. And it wasn't even the main half. The truth went deeper than that.

Sometimes, Clint thought about the fact that, out of all the people he'd brushed shoulders with in his life, Natasha was the one who became his best friend. They were such an unlikely pairing. And he wondered why God or the universe or the damn stars had decided she should be in his life when he sure as hell didn't deserve it.

Because before Natasha, he had been a mess. His life was meaningless. He was a ship without a sail. He was someone completely undeserving of happiness. And when he'd found her, she was broken, too. But somehow, without knowing quite how it happened, she'd changed him. Not in a way he could put into so many words, but she'd made him better. Without her, he would have been lost.

Although she believed she was the one indebted to him, in reality, it was the other way around. Every day, it seemed he was a little more aware of just how much he needed her. And he knew that a debt as big as the one he owed her, he could never fully pay off.