Four days after my surgery, I was allowed to go back to my room and lay in another uncomfortable bed. Surgery was a must. The muscle tissue and tendons were pretty torn and not just from the arrow…but my constant use of my leg after said fact. What were they expecting me to do? Just lay in the gutter, wait for help while Crystal killed even more people. I don't think so.

So now…here I am lying in bed with my left leg lifted up as high as I dare, watching Finding Nemo, and groggy from the pain medication. Possibly slightly cranky too. I wasn't denying that. Also, I was tired, but I couldn't seem to sleep. Well, in fact, I probably could, but the nightmares where terrible. I hadn't had nightmares like this since Deacon was killed.

A quick knock sounded at the door followed by Clint bursting in with a brown sack. He shut the door softly before he turned giving me a bright smile, "Hey there sunshine."

"If you call me sunshine one more time…I'm going to shove my crutch up your ass."

He chuckled deeply and I wanted it to continue. His laugh always, always made me feel so much better. He sat the sack down on the desk, "I see those pain pills are doing you a world of wonders."

"Smart ass." I tried to peek around him to see what he was up to. I couldn't see anything. "You know, you are like an hour late. Did you bring me something?"

He turned around at that moment with a pint of Mint Chocolate Chip and a spoon, "You have no idea the lengths I had to go to in order to get this."

He handed me the entire pint and I smiled, "You are amazing."

He nodded before pulling out his own pint of Rocky Road. He eased down onto the bed with me and hissed a bit. I watched him concerned. I knew he was still pretty sore from...everything. Everything meaning me stabbing him in the gut with his own arrow. Talk about an ego burst. He still hadn't mentioned and honestly, neither have I. He hadn't even mentioned anything about my leg. He waved me off, "I'm fine…stitches are bothering me. I get them out tomorrow."

"I'm furious that you can leave and I can't." I said before shoving a spoonful into my mouth. He frowned a bit and gave a slight nod.

"Well, in two weeks you can." I was unhappy about the fact that I had to go through physical therapy. I didn't enjoy it after being blown up twice and I'm sure as hell not going to enjoy it now.

"I got a message from Hill," I changed the subject quickly. I wanted to go home to normal life...but then again. I wasn't sure.

He sighed heavily then and I shrugged, "I'm sorry- I just think it's something to check into."

"Crystal is dead Marc. No need to worry."

"That's what we all said the first time."

"SHIELD agents put him down…somewhere in the god forsaken desert. He's dead." I can tell he doesn't see or hear my rational fears.

"If he's not?" I said, doubt still clouding my mind.

"Not an option. He's gone. We are all safe." His fingers were on my chin pulling my face toward his. He brushed his lips against mine softly, "You're safe."


After arriving home, my full intentions were to kiss Clint until his lips were blue, take a pain pill, and go to bed for a few days. Alas, my plans never really pull through for me though. The SHIELD driver and armed guards dropped me off along with Clint and my belongings. Fury had placed me on medical leave while Clint took his long overdue vacation. He warned me, of course, there was always a chance he could be called in. Shortly thereafter I visited Fury and explained to him how important Clint's presence would be to my healing needs. He said that he would make him last on the list. I appreciated that. I also figured that I would owe him a favor in the future. Nothing is ever free in this world.

To my surprise, the house was empty. In fact, after checking every room, only then did I notice a note from my mom in the dining room.


Was called in for an emergency at the hospital. Clint is at the shack. Food is in the cooler. Mind your wounds.



I rolled my eyes as I looked over at the backpack lying on the table. Her words of moving on flooded my head. I am moving on. Granted, my nightmares were back and I was having trouble sleeping…but I was moving on. I was desperate to move on. I settled the backpack on my shoulders squarely and began limping my way toward Clint. Why in the hell had he decided to make me meet him out here? I don't know. He knew that I couldn't walk very far without becoming tired very easily. In fact, it was taking me twice as long to travel by foot. I should have just got in the truck that was sitting dormant in the garage and drove down to the neighbors. It would have been closer.

I slowed down even more upon seeing the smoke coming from the shack, Clint was sitting on a log just outside the door…what? Door? With a cup of coffee in his right hand, his left held his phone. The lines were creases in his forehead, mug pressed to his lips. His long sleeve shirt had the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. He was hardly ever cold. The man ran hot all the time…temperature wise. My movement must have caught his eye because he jumped a bit. He grinned widely and immediately relaxed, "You're here! I thought you weren't coming in until Friday?"

"Fury released me. I thought I'd surprise you. Packed all of your things for you."

He set down his mug and slid his phone into his pocket. He wrapped his arms around me while he pressed his lips to my forehead, "I was coming up tomorrow night to pack. You should have waited for me."

"I couldn't stand being away from you one more second," I mumbled as he warm hands touched my cold cheeks. His lips moved against mine softly and I couldn't help but sigh into him. My lips parted and his pushed his tongue inside and I felt my knees quake. I hadn't seen him in two weeks. My recovery was taking longer than his. He pulled back while making it a point to suck on my bottom lip gently. I moaned at that. Before I knew it Clint was taking the backpack off of me and rummaging through it. I smirked, "Help yourself."

"I'm starving. I was actually about to head back to the house for lunch."

"Are you sleeping here?" I said eyeing the door. It looked a bit old, but it surprised me. Clint bit into the sandwich and looked back at the old house.

"What? No…I'm staying at your mom's. Only way I'm staying is with you here."

He wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me toward him. He winced when I hit his stomach too hard. Mumbling sorry, I caressed his chest. I watched his strong jaw chew the rest of his food. I started to open my mouth, but he beat me to it. "I never said anything to you…but stabbing me was the best idea you had. I'm glad you did."

"That's an odd thing to say to a woman," I forced a smile trying not to think that I could have killed him. "Especially one who can roast people."

"You didn't roast me…you stabbed me. So…I don't think you wanted to kill me."

"Deductive reasoning?" I said with a bit of flirt to my voice. "Oh Clinton…you are sooo smart."

He chuckled broadly as he let his free hand roam. After giving my backside a quick squeeze, he tucked his sandwich back into the cooler, "I wanna show you something. Are you okay to walk some more?"

"Sure." No, not really, but I'll do anything for this man. I took his outstretched hand, matched his smile, and we started walking…in the opposite direction of my mom's house. He glanced back and gave me a wink. I'm sure he knew that I was completely iffy about all of this. It quickly dawned on me that we were headed toward Harold Palmer's home. "Clint?"

We finally cleared the woods and were staring at the old plantation style house, white columns looking a bit dingy now from weather and from time. Two moving trucks were lined up in the front of the house. I cocked my head as we stopped.

"Mr. Palmer decided to move unexpectedly. I happened to get word of it."

"Get word of it or were you the reason?"

He just smiled, "Apparently he was selling his land along with the house too. Which includes the shack, amazingly enough."

"You are just going to keep ignoring me aren't you?"

He kissed my hand and gave a slight shrug before crossing his arms, leaning against the tree beside us. I watched him closely, his lips formed into a small smirk as he watched the moving crew. He glanced back at me and gave a chuckle, "Don't look at me like that."

"You. You bought it all didn't you?" My eyes widened a bit as I looked back to the direction of the shack. I shook my head as I shifted the weight off my aching leg. He looked down then and something flashed through his face. Regret? Pain? Then he brushed it off as quickly as it had come. There he goes again…covering up his feelings.

"This place is beautiful…don't you think?"

"I never said it wasn't."

"It's close to your mom's house."

"Are you going to answer me?"

He visibly swallowed then and drew in a long breath, "I was thinking that…this could be our…home base. You know? When we aren't playing the superhero card. Some place other than the tower. A home…"

"Are you asking me to move in with you?"

"It will actually be me moving in with you." I frowned at that. He confused the heck out of me sometimes. I glanced back at the house. One moving truck was pulling away. Idly, I wondered how much he paid for this place. Knowing Clint's history…I could understand his reason to crave a home. A want or need to have a place where he could call it home. A sanctuary where he could rest after a hard mission. Where we could rest after a hard mission. I let my eyes roam around the outside of the house. It would need some work…fresh coat of paint- for sure. The railing around the front on the porch would need to be replaced. My eyes flickered over to a swing set…the wooden swing set had half fallen down now after years of wear. I remember playing on it with Deacon and Harold's youngest grandchild Belle before she passed from leukemia at twelve. Deacon had the biggest crush on her. I had a crush on her older brother Bronson. I smiled at the memory.

"I could be a roommate…not just a boyfriend." He nudged me and I chuckled. I moved my gaze back to Clint and he had his hands shoved in his pockets. He hadn't shaved in a few days giving him a gruff exterior…which I found to be sexy. I bit my lip slightly and then gave a tight smile, "What happens when Fury moves you?"

His shoulders fell slightly and he looked away, "He told you."

"Tony did actually." He rolled his eyes and scoffed with a shake of his head. He stood up straight and took a step forward. I tried to ignore the constant throb of my leg now. It was becoming quite painful. I needed to sit down.

"Just because I leave for a mission doesn't mean I won't come back to you." I nodded and picked up a leaf only to start tearing it apart into tiny pieces. "I was told that our relationship couldn't conflict with our…jobs. I'm going to be doing a lot more work for SHIELD again. Then the occasional missions for Avengers. We aren't to work together a whole lot. We can…we just can't let it affect our…priorities."

I nodded slowly and moved to sit down on a fallen tree. This meant more orders. More broken promises. More secrets. I wasn't sure if I could do that again. He was there in an instant, kneeling before, hands on my arms, soft blue-green eyes. I smiled at him as he kissed me quickly, "We will make it work this time."


"We will make it work." I looked back at the house and noticed that they were moving furniture in…not out. I cocked an eyebrow at that and he knew exactly what I was referring too. He scratched his head then made an indecisive face, "Yea…Harold moved last week. I've had some guys remodeling and moving furniture in ever since."

"You didn't ask me?"

"I asked your mom…." I rolled my eyes. He turned his head sideways for a moment, "And your sister."

"You are so sneaky."

"Kinda my job," he said with a chuckle and a grin.

"So you bought me a house?" I said turning my head to the side. My hands were on the sides of his face, feeling the beginnings of his beard. It tickled the palms of my hands. I moved in closer and brushed my lips against his.

"Yea...well, you bought the house…with my money. And well, SHIELD donated some."

I shook my head and laughed, "Thank you. For thinking of me…thinking of a home base for me…for us." He closed the distance between. His lips moving gently against mine. He wrapped his arms around my torso and I felt his fingers rub the hooks on my bra. I kept my eyes shut as he pulled away and started kissing along my neck. Clint pulled his phone out and sighed, "Work."

"I'll be here when you get back."

"I know." And then he kissed me tenderly.


Thanks for reading and/or reviewing!


Part Two: s/12962827/1/The-Slow-Burn-Part-Two



I do not own anything.

Marcy James is my creation.