Disclaimer—Recognizable characters belong to Marvel… No copyright infringement intended. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's Notes—For my dear friend and beta Cindy Ryan, who asked if I would take a crack at this missing scene. You're the best, Cindy. So glad you're my friend!

Parting Shots—What Black Widow said to make Hawkeye smile…


She waited, as she should've, until they were alone in the car together, leaving the rest of the team—the Avengers—behind. "Did I miss something in translation?" she asked. She'd felt like Steve or, worse, Thor when Clint had smiled at her comment. It wasn't something that warranted that pleased, amused grin of his. She'd wondered if she'd slipped back to her native tongue, or if she'd forgotten how to pronounce something properly.

Clint glanced at her as they drove away from the park, as the heroes were scattered to the four winds. "When?"

"Earlier. Right before Thor left with the prisoner." She didn't even want to say Loki's name. While Clint was definitely free from the war criminal's mind control, she knew he wouldn't want the name brought up. She was well aware of his triggers, just as he was of hers; it was one of the many benefits of their partnership.

His smile easily reappeared and he shook his head. "No, Nat, nothing like that."

"Then…?" she drifted off curiously.

He watched the traffic for a moment, glad that she wasn't pushing him—yet—to give his answer. Taking a slight breath, he began speaking slowly. "On one hand… I'd much rather he face some kind of Earth justice. He needs to be held responsible for the people he injured, for the destruction he caused. He could've completely leveled New York. That's not something I appreciate."

"Of course not," she agreed. While her homeland wasn't America, the whole of the planet could've been destroyed. Everyone's home had been in peril.

"On the other, I know that there's no way we could've held him. Being some sort of god?" He shook his head. "We're not prepared for that." Giving an uncomfortable shrug, he added: "We were all too vulnerable, when he first appeared."

She didn't want him drifting down that road again, that 'what if' road. Determined not to let him fall, she moved the conversation forward. "So when I said: 'finally, he's leaving,' that smile was relief?"

"The smile was one final volley. I wanted his last memory of this place to be one of triumph so he remembers that mere earthlings beat him and his mighty army. Maybe next time, if he ever gets out of whatever prison Thor throws him under, he'll think twice about coming here, about facing us. I want that smirk to haunt his memories, his dreams. I want him to know that he didn't beat me. I want him to remember that he lost."

She nodded, her hand finding his lightly, briefly between their seats. "I'm sure he will."


End.