Disclaimer: I don't own Marvel comics or characters or movies, and am making no money off of this fic.

AN: Written for the September 6th Winterhawk Mandatory Fun Day prompt found here: mandatoryfunday . tumblr .com(/)post/187441307389/oldfarmhouse-backseat-driver-via. (Without the spaces and parentheses.)


On the Road (Again) by luvsanime02


"I just need a break," Clint says. His tone is not desperate only because he can't afford to sound desperate with Natasha. For one thing, she already knows how Clint's been handling things lately. Which is to say, not well at all. For another, if he gives her a centimeter, she'll take over completely. If Clint doesn't appear completely in control of his own life at the moment, Natasha will come in and organize Clint's life for him.

Some days, Clint thinks that wouldn't be so bad, really. He could just sit back and let someone else arrange his life, and then Clint wouldn't have to deal with anything at all, and it would be so easy. Clint trusts Natasha - it's not like she would destroy Clint's life, or anything. Hell, his life circumstances would probably improve greatly with someone else in charge of everything.

There's still a part of Clint that's too stubborn to hand someone else the reigns, though. Too stubborn, and too independent, and too frustrated at himself to take the easy way out. And having someone else arrange everything for Clint would be too easy. Clint has enough problems with depression, and one of the only ways to make him get up most mornings is knowing that there is shit he has to get done.

Right now, though? Right now, it's been a bad week in a long line of bad weeks. Right now, Clint has vacation days piled up and he is actually going to use some of them. Which, honestly, is worrying Clint's friends and coworkers more than Clint sitting around in a slump ever does. Clint tries not to feel too bitter about that. He's finally doing something healthy for once, and everyone is giving Clint the side-eye in response.

Natasha says nothing for several minutes, and Clint lets the silence sit between them. He has nothing else to occupy his mind with, after all. His old Wagoneer is on a long stretch of highway that won't be broken for several hundred more miles, and Lucky's sitting calmly in the back, content with their impromptu road trip, and contrary to popular belief, Clint is perfectly fine with silence for long stretches at a time.

"You're going to check in with me every forty-eight hours," Natasha finally says, and it's as much her conceding the point as it is a threat and a promise to track him down if he gets into trouble. Clint feels a lump of hopeless affection for her lodge itself in his throat, and he has to swallow a couple of times to ease the sudden pressure.

"Thanks, Natasha," he says quietly, and then hangs up. Almost, he turns his phone off, but Clint can't quite bring himself to do it. He doesn't want to be completely alone, really. He just wants… a break. To take a deep breath for what feels like the first time in months.

The sky is cloudy, but there's no rain in sight. Clint is looking forward to a relaxing time at his destination, and in the meantime, his biggest concern at the moment is figuring out where to stop next and get something to eat.

No work, no responsibilities, no boyfriend. Clint's not thinking about Bucky right now, though. He's not thinking about their latest fight. That's another reason Clint just packed up and left. Oh, not the fight itself, because Clint and Bucky fight probably more than they should, but at least they've long since stopped treating their disagreements seriously. No, it's just that Clint is tired and Bucky isn't. His boyfriend currently couldn't be happier, job-wise, with his research project finally taking off and leaving him moving around in a storm of constant activity, and Clint feels about a hundred years old just watching Bucky lately.

Clint needs to take this vacation, but Bucky sure as hell is experiencing the opposite in his work at the moment, and so Clint took their latest fight as his cue to get out of Bucky's hair for a while. They'd both agreed that it was for the best, because they love each other but need some distance for a week or two.

Misery loves company, but distance makes the heart grow fonder, Clint muses ruefully. He'll come back and be properly happy for Bucky in a couple of weeks, but this time right now is for him, and Clint's planning on making the most out of it. Just him and Lucky, and the open road ahead, and Clint doesn't need anything else.