A/N: According to the comics, Hawkeye started out as a misguided villain.
The door closed and now Agent Coulson was standing alone in a cell with Clint Barton, also known as prisoner number 4463.
It was funny but now that he was looking him in the eye, Barton didn't look like a bank robber.
He looked like a scared 19 year old kid.
"You know who I am?" Coulson said as he settled on the bunk next to Clint. As soon as Coulson's pants hit the seat, Clint recoiled and edged further away from him. That made sent a shudder through Coulson's skin. Clint was an attractive teenager in a Federal Prison, he had every right to be terrified when someone sat next to him on a bunk. "Just...calm down. Do you know who I am?"
"You're the government man, the one who wanted to talk to me."
"That's right." Coulson smiled, "And you're the one who robbed sixteen banks with a bow and arrow."
Barton shrugged, he apparently didn't like to brag. Which was an admirable quality for the kind of work Coulson wanted to use him for. "How'd you do it? I mean how did you use a bow and arrow to snatch sixteen banks?"
"Cause I can. Cause I'm good with a bow and arrow."
"Nobody's that good."
Barton shrugged again but spoke up this time, locking eyes with Coulson and holding that gaze. "I am." He said, "Best aim in Iowa, with a gun, a bow, anything."
"Really." Coulson laughed, "The best?"
Coulson stood up and pulled out a business card, leaving the slip of card board on the bunk next to Clint. "You made some poor choices, I'm sure you had your reasons but never the less you made them and they got you here." He motioned to the three walls and bars that were destined to be Barton's world for another 14 years if Coulson didn't pull him out of there.
"You don't have to live like this." Agent Coulson said as he motioned for the guard to open the door, "I can give you a second chance if you want it."
Natasha Romanoff hugged Clint as he watched them lower Philip Coulson's casket into the ground. It was a small funeral, just the Avengers (Thor had postponed his trip home with Loki just for this), Fury, Hill, and a cellist named Colleen. No friends outside of work, no family. Nobody but the people who knew him for what he did and barely for who he was.
They all lined up as they passed the coffin, each saying their own goodbye. Steve Rogers tossed a signed Captain America trading card into the grave, "To my biggest fan" it said. Tony Stark gave a little mock salute, suddenly out of jokes. Banner tossed in a handful of dirt and Fury smiled, maybe the first smile he'd shown outside of a fire fight. It was Thor who had the biggest reaction, raising his hammer and firing a lightening bolt into his comrade's casket, "Fare thee well, Son of Coul! I shall see thee again in Valhalla, where all warriors go in death."
It was rather sweet, in a 10th century Viking kind of way.
Afterwards, Clint and Natasha walked hand in hand through the cemetery
"Known that guy since I was a kid."
"Yeah?" Natasha said as she hugged him.
"Yup." Clint Barton, master of the one word answer. But this time Natasha felt like he needed to say more. Felt like he needed some sort of release.
"He was your handler?"
"Yup. More than twelve years." Barton sighed. Then looked at her with the same cold efficiency he looked at everything, "You remember...what I said to you? When I recruited you?"
"You told me, 'I can give you a second chance if you want it.'" And she saw a tear form at the edge of his eye, he needed another hug.
"Did...you believe me when I said it?"