Disclaimer: *sigh* Still not mine.
First Name Basis
Even after Natasha signs on S.H.I.E.L.D's dotted line and moves into her designated box of a room, she keeps expecting to wake up with an arrow in her chest. For all the underworld lords she's come in contact with, Agent Clint 'Hawkeye' Barton is the most dangerous man she's ever met.
S.H.I.E.L.D keeps her at the base for over two months, supposedly to train her in their protocols but she knows they want to make sure she won't murder them all in their sleep. She's fine to leave off with the murdering as long as the paycheques keep coming, but Barton is the only one who understands that. It's tedious, but finally they do send her on smaller missions with Barton to keep an eye on her.
Her cover is a stripper in a club belonging to a Mafia boss they're trying to gather intel on and it's so utterly cliché that her eyes roll when she receives her brief. Barton is her contact and he's posing as a client, so naturally the best way to get close enough to him to pass on information is through a lap dance.
They're on the job and he's as much a professional as she is, but it doesn't take long before she feels him harden against her thigh even as he's taking in her words.
She rocks forward to press her lips against his ear and his face falls forward against her collarbone with a barely stifled groan, arms sliding up the silk of her dress. Natasha's impressed that he held out so long to get his hands her. Months ago she had expected him to want to fuck her the moment he chose to let her live.
Natasha nips his earlobe in warning. "You get all of that, hotshot?"
His shoulders stiffen under her hands and he's all business again. She feels rather than hears the acknowledging growl deep in his throat.
She doesn't see him again until after the mission and they don't mention it.
Most of the S.H.I.E.L.D agents avoid her in the gym as well as everywhere else, and the ones who don't are hardly a challenge, just young and dumb and testosterone filled. So if she wants to spar, she's inevitably paired with Barton.
Natasha doesn't mind, they're evenly matched and she doesn't care much about getting to know anyone else. Sparring with Barton is always exhilarating, and after that mission she could do with some exhilarating right now.
Barton dusts his hands in the corner of the boxing ring. His black t-shirt is tight across his shoulders and Natasha can't help but appreciate the view as hangs her towel over the ropes. He catches her eye and the smile he gives her is feral.
Natasha assumes her stance in the centre of the ring. "Ready, Barton?" she challenges, eyebrow raised.
He drops his towel on the mat and steps forward without a word.
They go in for the hard hits right from the start, as always. Natasha blocks his hammer strike and retaliates with a punch that to his jaw that he manages to dodge, aiming a kick at her pelvis. Their usual fighting banter is absent and the air feels charged against her skin.
Barton grabs her in a headlock and she elbows him in the ribs. He grunts in momentary pain and releases her only to pull her back so hard against his him her head falls against his collarbone. His lips brush lightly against the side of her now exposed neck and it makes Natasha shiver.
She loses her focus for a second and he takes full advantage of it, getting her to the ground in a second. Barton pins her wrists above her head with his left hand and presses the other against her throat, not hard enough to stop her breathing but enough to be a threat.
He's more than ten years her senior, twice her size and the only man who can get close enough to break her neck. And right now she's very much aware of all these things.
He leans forward, crushing her wrists into the mat and her breath escapes in a rush. "You're dead, Romanov," he whispers, but there's heat in his voice and his body is pressed against her and-
Natasha makes a show of trying to move her body beneath his, but Barton betrays nothing. "Barton," she gasps, widening her eyes. "Barton, what are you doing?"
Concern flashes across his face and he loosens his hand, which is the opening she needs. In a blink, he's on his back and she's pushing her knees into his chest. "You're dead too."
They stare at each other for a moment, each trying to gauge the other's next move. Then Barton starts laughing and the tension breaks. Natasha helps him up and he claps her on the shoulder before heading for the showers.
Their next mission has a spectacularly gory ending when a mark beheads another agent in front of them before back up can arrive, and Natasha is dispatched to the psychologist on S.H.I.E.L.D's orders. She gives them what they want to hear and doesn't reveal a thing about how she really feels.
A few hours later she meets Barton in the tiny staff kitchen and he nods in greeting. "You been sent to the shrinks yet?"
"Yeah." Natasha keeps watch on Barton from the corner of her eye while she pours herself a coffee. It's awful stuff she normally refuses to drink but the caffeine is welcome. "They said I showed signs of long term childhood trauma and was quite possibly a sociopath."
Barton scoffs. "I could have told them that when I first brought you in."
Natasha gives him a look as she leans against the counter next to him. "Do you have a gift for spotting the certifiable, Agent Barton?" she teases, but it sounds huskier than she intended.
His eyes darken and when he speaks his voice is a deep rumble. "Only if they're the same brand of crazy as me."
Barton gazes at the ceiling and Natasha sips her revolting coffee as it hangs unspoken between them. They're together because no one else could survive.
He's Barton and she's Romanov, until one night in the field a truck blows up and she doesn't duck for cover in time, and the blast throws her into the concrete road.
She's vaguely conscious when she hears Barton crouch down next to her. "Romanov. Hey, Tasha, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand."
If she can hear, that means she's alive, and she grabs Barton's fingers with all the strength she has left. Barton places her in the recovery position until she can open her eyes again and he doesn't let go of her hand.
She's not badly wounded, just some cuts and a few broken ribs, and she's honestly surprised when Barton visits her in the medical bay after the S.H.I.E.L.D doctors have finished patching her up. "I did bring you some vodka," he announces, sitting on the edge of her bed without an invitation. "But the doctor said it would interact badly with the painkillers, so…" He draws a flask of the best Russian vodka out of the pocket of his sweater. "I'm drinking it."
He takes a swig and Natasha feels a smile tug at her lips. "Clint…" His first name slips out almost without her realising, and Barton looks at her over the edge of the vodka bottle. If he's taken aback it doesn't register on his face.
Natasha takes a deep breath and regrets it when her ribs ache. "Thanks."
He grins at her. "Oh, don't thank me yet. There's a fuck load of paperwork from the last mission and since you're in a semi-comfortable bed for now, Tasha, I'm letting you do it."
She rolls her eyes at him and Barton… Clint's grin just gets wider.