Obviously, I own nothing.
Running Over The Same Old Ground
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year.
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears.
'Wish You Were Here,' by Pink Floyd
When Agent Clint Barton and Agent Natasha Romanov leave S.H.I.E.L.D they will be in body bags.
Natasha has never anticipated living a long life, and while there are plenty of other agents with no thoughts of retirement, no one understands her dedication to her job quite like Clint does.
Between them they have slaughtered more people than she can count and broken enough laws to land them in prison for centuries. More than once Natasha wonders if Clint had let her live all those years ago because he had finally found someone as broken as he was.
Their partnership is as solid as it is infamous and nothing jeopardises that until Loki pulverises everything.
Natasha doesn't have the heart to tell Clint how many agents he killed and no one but Nick Fury has the courage. When she stops by his room later that night to drop off some last minute paperwork she finds him standing ramrod straight at the window, staring out at the sea.
"Clint," she calls from the door. She knows all too well that you don't sneak up on a master assassin no matter how deep the level of familiarity. "Clint, it's me."
The bedside light barely illuminates his face as he turns his head a fraction. "Nat." His nickname for her sounds bitter.
He turns around fully and his eyes are desperate, and with that Natasha strides forward, takes hold of his wrist and leads him to the bed without a word.
Clint stops, the bed against his legs and his expression confused. Natasha leans down to turn off the bedside light and pushes him down in a way that would get anyone else killed. "In."
She can just make out the profile of his face as he swings his legs up onto the bed. She sits down on the edge and as she's leaning down to take off her boots the mattress beneath her shifts and Clint's hand comes to rest on her bare shoulder like a question. "Nat?"
She freezes mid-movement, curls falling over her face, and the only sound in the room is their breathing.
She should leave. Go to her room and not see Clint until training tomorrow. But his hand is still there, fingers resting against the thin strap of her singlet, and she can't walk away from him now.
She slides into bed next to him with one decisive action. There's enough room that they can have an inch of space between them and she rests on arm gently across his chest.
His whole body is stiff, but he reaches up and covers her hand with his and closes his eyes, even though they both know he won't sleep tonight.
There's no missing the significant glances and sniggers from their colleagues when they enter the kitchen together early the next morning, but Natasha doesn't stay one night in her own bed from then on. Fury must have gathered what was going on since their sudden high profile brought them under tight observation, but they are never reprimanded and yet keep up the act during the day anyway.
They say good night and head off to their own quarters, only to have Natasha slip into Clint's room an hour later, dressed for bed. They don't talk much, but they don't have to. Natasha becomes accustomed to sleeping with Clint's chest against her back, and if his arm slides around her waist during the night, they don't talk about that either.
They don't have sex, until they do.
It's after a mission where things went sour and they were forced to kill their way out. Fury berates them for over an hour and there's so much blood on her hands she hunches over the bathroom sink scrubbing like a wannabe Lady Macbeth.
They face each other in his room and neither is sure who makes the first move.
A bare-chested Clint is nothing new to her; she's seen him without a shirt plenty of times in the training hall and occasionally to perform emergency first aid in the field. But now as he stands before her, his skin a web of scars, she can't help but run her fingers over his abdomen and relish the gasps it draws from him as she reaches lower.
He snatches her hand away and steps into her embrace instead, and her mind is screaming that this is a really bad idea, but this is Clint and he's kissing her and they're all they have left now.
He lifts her up like she weighs nothing and then they're on the bed and he's on top because she knows he doesn't need to be, and he's inside her and it's rough and hard and so damn good.
She sinks her teeth into his shoulder as she comes and his head snaps back in a shout as his own orgasm takes over, not caring about the other agents sleeping just beyond the thin walls. He looks back down at her as his hips still and his face is the most open she's ever seen him. "Nat, I…"
Natasha reaches up to stop him. "I know."
He smiles and lies beside her, only to pull her against him and press his lips to hers.
She's always known there will never be anyone else.