An Avengers 2012 fan fiction by xahra99.

debrief (third-person singular simple present debriefs, present participle debriefing, simple past and past participle debriefed)

(transitive) To question someone after a military mission in order to obtain intelligence.

(transitive) A one-time, semi-structured conversation with an individual who has just experienced a stressful or traumatic event.

(transitive) To remove one's pants.

Natasha visits Barton's room straight after the meeting even though she knows she shouldn't.

It doesn't take her long. There far fewer people in the corridors than there used to be. The smell of burning circuits still hangs in the air. The door is closed. She presses the panel, expecting the door to be locked, but it slides open easily at her touch. He's sitting on the bed, sunglasses gleaming in the neon strip lighting. He doesn't look up when she enters.

She folds her arms and leans against the wall. "You shouldn't have come back here," she says as the door hisses shut behind her.

"Had to," he said. His elbows rest on his knees. His hands are knotted so tightly together that his knuckles are stark white. There's a black kitbag on the floor, but it's empty. By the look of it, he hasn't got far with packing.

She clears her throat. "Had to?"

He looks up at her. His face is exhausted, despite the dark glasses, the shadows of bruises in the sockets of his eyes just visible beneath the rims. She can't recall if the bruises are from the battle in New York City or from their earlier fight. She shrugs. It doesn't matter.

"Had to prove to SHIELD I could handle it," he says. "Prove I can still work with the team."

She nearly asks how that is working out, but instead she says "How're you holding up?"

"Better than them," He turns his face away and steeples his hands, thumb on his snub, many-times-broken-nose, calloused fingertips touching his forehead above the mirrored shades. The room's blue plastic walls tint his face a washed-out, unhealthy shade of grey.

"I've seen you worse," she says.

Laughter tears from his throat. "Sure you have." He shakes his head, quieter. "I still can't believe Loki's really gone."

She nods crisply. "Believe it," she tells him. "You've seen the med data. We're sure as we can be. When I knocked you out it broke Loki's connection." She looked him up and down, critically. "How'd you feel?"

"Like hell."

She looks at him, waiting. He breaks first, like always.

"It seemed so simple. Nat-we're soldiers. SHIELD points us at a target-" He mimes drawing a bow, his fingers flexing as if grasping an invisible arrow. "-and then they loose." He shivers. "It never bothered me before. You learn to follow orders, right? Loki-he was different." He reaches up to the back of his head to rub his skull and she wonders if it's another bruise or an unconscious reaction to the mind control. "I could feel him. Whatever he wanted. Like I was hooked up to his brain." He rubs his head again. "I couldn't stop him, Nat. I wish I could have. Wish I'd killed him."

She nods. Killing people is what they do. "You should be telling this to SHIELD."

He just looks at her, expression unreadable behind the shades. "Am I?"

She shakes her head. "Strictly off the record. You're doing fine."

He doesn't move and for a moment she thinks that she's lost him. But after a second he just shakes his head and slides the glasses off his nose, folds them up and stows them away in a pocket of his combat trousers.

"No," he says. "I'm not."

She steps forwards and sits down on the bed, which doesn't move under her weight. Classic SHIELD-issue; built for efficiency, not comfort. "It took Selvig too. He couldn't fight it."

"He's a scientist." Clint dismisses the entirety of science and its hypothesis with a shake of his head. Assassins have no time for hypotheses. They deal in abstracts. Yes or no. Live, or die. "I should have been stronger."

She reaches out and knots her hand in his. Their fingers twist together, his hard and callused against her palm. He brings her hand to his lips. For a moment she thinks he's going to kiss it but that's never been his style. When he speaks, she can feel his breath warm against her knuckles. "I couldn't see straight. Too close."

"Up close is my job." She notices that her knuckles are skinned in patches that match the bruises on his jaw."You can't win them all."

"We can try."

She slides one arm around his shoulders. She can barely reach, but then he has some serious upper body strength on his side and she has always believed that brute force is quite unnecessary in most situations."Sometimes you learn more by revealing your weaknesses."

At first she thinks he doesn't hear her, his voice is so quiet. "I didn't know you had any."

She doesn't say anything.

After a while he says "Nat?"

"Maybe I do," she says. That's all. He will never know what she told Loki, or how much it meant to her, or whether or not whatever she told Loki was the truth. Maybe she doesn't even know herself.

They both turn to each other at the same time, and she's never sure if she kisses him or if it's the other way around. It lasts a long time. Their fingers untwine. Her hands skate up the back of his neck, his fingers tangle in her hair. His broken nose cants slightly aside so they don't bump faces.

He's a good kisser. He's always been a good kisser.

The room has neon strip lights and bulkheads painted hospital blue. It smells faintly of disinfectant. It's not the most romantic of locations, but they've managed with far less.

She pulls open his shirt while he fumbled for the zip of her suit. Hs breath is hot in her ear. "So that's how we're going to be?" he says.

"That's the way we've always been," she says. Her breath is slightly fast, as if she's been running. His is too.

She works her hands over his shoulders, pushing his shirt aside as she goes. Her fingertips encounter bruises, and skate around them. Did I do that? She thinks. I can't remember, and anyway, it doesn't matter.

The bed isn't soft or large, but in this as in so many things, flexibility has its advantages. He has worked her zip down to her navel. She rolls over, hooking her legs over his to straddle him, locking his hips with her knees. He arches under her and abandons the zipper to run his hands over her breasts.

"When was the last time we did this?" he mumbles into her neck.

She shrugs.

"Whatever. We should do it more often," he says. She feels his stomach muscles tense as he pulls himself a little more upright, carrying her with him, and shrugs off his shirt. She grinds down on him and undoes his belt while he curses and struggles with his sleeves. She hears a button ping across a bulkhead. It's an awkward angle but if she can wriggle free from handcuffs a simple belt is no problem. She doesn't get his pants all the way down, but it's close enough for government work.

As soon as she gets his dick out of his pants he tugs down her zip and they're fucking like hammer and tongs, clothes half off, face buried in her hair. She leans over him, pins his wrists to the bed and he lets her. There's hair in her eyes, and she catches a glimpse of the long pale arch of her back bent over him in the steamed up windows.

She's so sure he'll come first, he seems so eager. But Clint's a sniper. He knows how to wait. She licks salt from the corners of his eyes and bites his lip when she comes until blood rushes into both of their mouths, salty as tears. As soon as she comes, that's it, he's had it. He moans, bites her back in a kiss that's half a shout. She leans into him hard as he powers into her and comes with a shout.

They collapse back onto the bed to the echo of a thump from the room next door, as if the person bunking there has walked out in disgust and slammed the door behind them.

She rakes her tangled hair from her face and sits up, noticing a bruise on her shoulder. She arches one eyebrow. He looks a little embarrassed, doesn't say anything.

At last he lets out a long sigh and hands her some tissues as she rolls off and begins to fasten her bra.

"We're only human," she says as she zips up.

He shrugs. "Gotta be more."

Someone slaps the door panel. The door hisses open, catching Clint in the act of zipping his fly. Natasha, of course, is already adjusting her cuffs. The smell of disinfectant has been replaced by the strong scent of sex.

"Excuse me," Captain America says. "I-oh."

She looks up. "Give us a minute."

Captain America blushes. "Yeah," he says. "Uh, sure." It takes him three tries to hit the button that closes the door again, and she could swear his cheeks get redder with every failed attempt.

Clint watches with interest. "I guess they had doorknobs in the fifties."

"Forties," she says.

"Whatever," he says. "Nat?"

She turns, one hand sleeking her hair, expecting another joke, but his face is deadly serious. "You never answered my question. What made you fight?"

"You did," she says, walks out of the room, and doesn't turn to look behind her.