Co-written with my friend, Michelle (puffandruffle at tumblr)

The sun was warm on her skin and she sighed with contentment. More than a month had passed since the battle in New York and Tony had offered her and Clint a month-long retreat on one of his private islands and they had accepted.

Natasha grunted as a shadow fell across her, and she didn't need to open her eyes to know who was standing over her, blocking her sun.

"Clint, don't you have anything else better to do?" she asked. He moved out of her sun and she was aware of him sitting down in the sand next to her.

"Something else better than ogling my partner in a bikini? Tasha, I thought you knew me better than that," Clint replied and Natasha opened her eyes and glared at him.

"You're a pig, Clint," she said, before snapping her eyes shut again. She could still feel his eyes on her, looking her up and down. "Seriously, Clint, it's getting creepy. I came here from New York because I was done with creepy, for now." There was a sharp bite her voice; what happened in New York was still a touchy subject for the both of them. "Besides," she continued, "shouldn't you be shooting us lunch or something?" He laughed because the island was fully staffed and they were brought anything they wanted, although they never actually saw anyone.

"Nat, just relax. We're on an all-expense-paid vacation and we only have a day left," Clint said as he reclined back to lie next to her.

"Well, I certainly hope you're not planning on annoying me for the rest of the day. Vacations are hard to come by," Natasha said. Clint chuckled and nudged her shoulder with his elbow.

"Tasha," he said, his voice fading off in a whine. She couldn't help but smile.

They managed to lie in companionable silence on the sand for what Natasha was sure was beyond what was considered healthy.

"You're lucky I haven't strangled you yet, you bastard," Natasha said suddenly. Clint had moved and was now hovering over her, almost nose-to-nose and, she could feel him smiling despite the fact that her eyes were still closed. His breath tickled her cheek and she felt the week's worth of scruff on his cheek as he lowered his head so his mouth was level with her ear.

"Natasha," Clint whispered. The way he said her name sent a shiver straight down her spine despite the heat in the air. She opened her eyes and looked at him. He was watching her intently with that look in his eyes. She knew what he wanted and at this point she was more than willing to give it to him. She was surprised they had held out this long.

"Clint," she started to say but she was cut off when he leaned over and kissed her. Natasha sighed and grabbed the back of Clint's neck, pulling him closer to her. His tongue ran along her lower lip and he grazed the same spot with his teeth moments later.

Natasha pulled away and stared at Clint for a moment and he looked at her questioningly.

"Race you," she said before springing up from the sand and sprinting for the beach house. She could hear his footsteps behind her as she ran for the bedroom that she had claimed when they had arrived.

She squealed suddenly when Clint caught up to her and grabbed her around the wait and pushed her into the wall, his lips attacking hers before she could even assess the situation. As it turned out, assessing the situation became a last priority when, not content with how much of their bodies were touching, Clint grabbed her thighs and hoisted her into his arms without effort, walking backwards until he found the nearest bedroom depositing Natasha on the bed in a somewhat ungraceful manner. Seeing as they had been lying on a beach all day, they were already practically naked, and Clint wasn't about to complain over how easy it was to pull a single string and divest Natasha of her top, for as much as two triangles of Lycra could be called a top in the first place. Clint threw the useless thing across the room and then got rid of his own suit while Natasha took off her swimsuit bottoms.

Clint was back on top of her in a matter of moments, his mouth hot on hers, his hands slipping down her stomach. His thumb found her clit and he drew circles on it slowly, gently. Natasha gasped into his mouth, her hips bucking up against his.

He slipped one finger into her and her hips bucked again. His mouth moved away from hers, down her jaw to her neck where he nipped and sucked until she was clutching at his biceps like she was going to fall apart. He continued his mouths trail down her clavicle, nipping his way along the bone. She moaned and he grinned between kisses. He loved knowing that he was the only person in the world that could bring Natasha Romanoff to this state.

"Clint," she gasped as he withdrew his finger and then pushed it back in again. Her nails were digging into his arm hard enough to draw blood but he ignored it. His other hand palmed her breast, his thumb brushing her nipple. She clenched on his bicep harder. He savored the feeling, withdrawing his finger and pushing in again.

"Say it, Natasha," Clint whispered into her ear, biting her earlobe as he did.

"I need you," she gasped. He covered her lips with his as he removed his finger and entered her, slowly. It was agonizing for her and she whimpered.

"Clint," she moaned as he increased his pace and kissed her deeply. He reached down in between them and found her clit again, brushing it in rhythm with his thrusts. She shuddered as she came, crying out, and he came right after. He collapsed on top of her, sweaty and breathing heavily. He allowed himself a moment before rolling off her to the side and then pulling her body against his. She found his hand and laced her fingers with his.

"What if I said I didn't want to go back?" she whispered after a moment. It was very unlike her. Even with Clint, Natasha still kept her cards close to her chest. He was sure that something had happened between her and Loki, something that had shaken her deeply, but she was still just brushing it off.

"Tasha, I'd follow you anywhere," he said, unlacing their fingers and tentatively moving his hand up to brush a stray piece of hair from her face. She turned over so she was facing him, and he could see tears forming in her eyes.

"Clint, there's something I didn't tell you, about Loki," she said. He found her hand again and squeezed. "When, when I was trying to get information out of him, he said something and it… it got to me. It shouldn't have and it's stupid, but it scared me. It scared me because it made me realize that I care for you more than I should." Clint frowned, but Natasha continued. "Not that it's a bad thing, but, it's… Loki assumed that I was in love with you, and I told him love was for children, and it is. Love is ridiculous and I see it as a weakness. But what we have, it's more. I would do anything for you, Clint, I would die for you and I know you would die for me. You're the only person I've ever trusted."

"Tasha," Clint said, looking at her, straight in the eye. "If you want to leave SHIELD, say the word, we'll leave. They can't stop us. Between the two of us we have more than enough money to retire ten times over, but I want you to ask yourself something. I want you to ask yourself if you're ready. Can you stop doing what you do? Can you be happy doing nothing, because if they answer is no, we need to go back tomorrow. I would give anything in the world to be with you, completely, but it won't mean anything if you're not happy."

Natasha considered his words and rolled away from him onto her other side. He scooted over so he was against her again and put his arm around her. He knew what her answer was without her having to say.


"It's okay, Natasha. Whenever you're ready, I'll be there," he said, answering her unasked question.

She pressed against him, as if to eliminate all the space between them. He pulled her against him more securely and they slept.

In the morning Tony's private plane arrived on the island to take them back to Stark Tower, the new Avengers headquarters. Natasha was silent the entire trip home. The only evidence that she was thinking of their conversation from the night before was her fingers laced through his. Clint didn't know how long her affection towards him would last when they arrived home, but he was glad that they had talked about it. It had been something they needed.