A/N: Many thanks to Shadow-ofthe-Night35 for letting my use the idea of Clint being a talented painter. I'm dedicating this story to Shadow-ofthe-Night35…
Pepper had joined them, as had Jane, since she was visiting Thor, so breakfast at Avengers Tower was a bit more crowded than usual. Hawkeye was pleased. He'd been waiting for Pepper, Jane, and Thor, to be around for almost a month.
As breakfast was cleared away, Clint spoke. "I've finished that project I've been working on, if you all want to see it."
There was a chorus of, "Yes! " Of course!" "Let's go!" Everyone was curious about the project Clint had been working on for months. He hadn't even let Natasha see it. Tony was not happy that even Jarvis had been convinced to not let Tony into the room unless it was an emergency – and there had been no emergencies. It was a mark of Tony's respect for Clint that he hadn't used his ability to over-ride the request and force Jarvis to let him in.
Clint led them all to his level of the Tower, and the room he'd set up. Several large sheets covered sections of the walls.
"Jarvis, if you would," Clint requested.
The first sheet fell to reveal two paintings of Tony and Pepper. One was of them dancing, lost in each other. Pepper in a sapphire blue dress, and Tony in his tux. The other was them sitting together (in what the others realized must be one of the recliners in the entertainment room of the 'Team' level), clearly during an Avengers movie night, completely relaxed and at ease – happy.
"They're beautiful," Jane said.
"You're really talented," Steve noted, awe in his voice.
After a few long moments Pepper just turned and hugged him.
"I thought we were friends, and you never told me you were a really talented artist with a photographic memory…" Tony groused.
"This way was more fun," Clint replied, a mischievous gleam in his eyes.
"Next please, Jarvis," Clint said, as they moved down to the next sheet.
The next sheet dropped to show two more paintings. This time of Steve and Bucky, and Steve and Peggy. Steve and Bucky were clearly joking around, while the image of Steve and Peggy was serene – the couple sitting on a park bench, with her head resting on his shoulder, and his arm around her.
Steve reached out towards the painting of him and Peggy, then dropped his hand. Everyone remained respectfully silent until Steve looked at Clint and said, "Thank you."
Clint gave a slight nod, and small smile. It had been easy enough to find old photos to make the paintings from.
They all moved again, as the next sheet fell to show Jane against a twilight sky, with the stars just appearing. He'd painted her in a purple silk gown, and she looked a queen. There was a soft smile on her lips, that they'd only ever seen directed at Thor. Nearby was a painting of Thor, with a magnificent lightning storm and storm clouds as his background. Clint had chosen to paint Thor in all his Asgarian glory, with his red cloak flowing behind him.
"They are magnificent!" Thor declared. "And you have truly captured my Lady's beauty."
Jane gave Clint a light kiss on the cheek.
As the group moved to the next sheet, Clint noticed Bruce was tense. "Relax, Bruce. Do you trust me?"
"Of course," Bruce replied.
"Okay, Jarvis," Clint said, and the sheet dropped.
Rather than a painting, it was a collection of almost a dozen very detailed pencil drawings.
Hulk catching Iron Man as he fell in the Battle of New York. Tony and Bruce in the lab. Bruce patching up Natasha. Hulk with Hawkeye on one shoulder firing arrows and Natasha on the other firing her guns. Bruce patching up Clint. Thor and Bruce in the Tower laughing together. Hulk smashing a huge monster from the right as Thor hammered it from the left. Hulk and Captain America fighting together. Steve and Bruce on the balcony of Stark Tower drinking coffee together.
Bruce looked to Clint as he realized the meaning of the drawings. That Bruce and Hulk were both valued members of the Team. Filling very different roles, but both wanted and needed. "Thank you. I love them… and so does the Other Guy." Bruce could easily feel the Other Guy's pleasure at the drawings; his joy at being included in Clint's work.
They moved to the final sheet. Everyone was curious as to how Clint had painted Natasha. "Jarvis."
The sheet fell to reveal something even Natasha hadn't expected. The painting showed Natasha asleep in black sleep pants and black tank top, with a window behind her. She was turned a bit to the side, as if someone had just left the place by her side; her arm was extended, as if reaching for her missing partner. Her expression was more relaxed than they'd ever seen it. She looked younger and more at peace than they'd ever seen her. Tony played a hunch and forced himself to look away from her face, to the city shown in the window behind her. "Budapest?"
"Yes," Clint admitted. "But it's not what you're thinking."
"Looks pretty clear…" Tony said.
"It was the first time we slept together… as in actual sleep, Tony, not anything else. The first time she trusted me enough to let all her defenses down with me," Clint said.
"The day before this, we were fighting overwhelming odds…" Natasha said. They'd both saved the other's life a couple times that day.
Pepper caught Natasha's eyes and realized what her friend really remembered most about Budapest as the words echoed in her mind 'overwhelming odds'. Natasha must have almost lost Clint in Budapest, just like she'd almost lost him to Loki.
"Just like New York," Steve noted. She remembered the fight. He remembered the trust.
Steve looked at Clint. "This is why you said you remember Budapest very differently."
Clint nodded to Steve, then spoke. "The paintings are yours to keep."
Everyone thanked him, then went to retrieve their painting.
"Now my Jane's beauty can grace Asgard at all times," Thor said happily as he took the drawing of her off the wall.
Bruce carried Jane's painting of Thor, and the others said they'd come back with Bruce to help carry Bruce's drawings.
Clint wasn't surprised when Pepper moved to the painting of the couple dancing as Tony reached for the more relaxed image. Tony told her to leave hers - he'd come back and carry it for her.
Natasha just stayed still, looking at hers. Once everyone had left, she spoke in a soft voice. "I remember this part of Budapest, Clint. Well, not when I was asleep, of course, but… The trust. Falling asleep in your arms. That night was the first time in… years that I felt safe… protected… cared for… I could never forget that. I just… The middle of a battle didn't seem like the time to mention it."
He moved forward, and wrapped his arms around her. She relaxed back into his familiar solid warmth. She'd never admit it, but it felt like home.
In her head Natasha knew she was beautiful. She'd been told so too many times not to know it. But she rarely felt beautiful. Clint made her feel beautiful. And seeing that picture, seeing herself through his eyes, she once again felt beautiful. "It's a beautiful picture. Thank you."
He didn't bother to say anything so cliché as 'no, you're beautiful'. He knew that far too many marks had told her she was beautiful. Her beauty was of the main reasons Red Room had chosen her. Instead he just said, "You're welcome, Tash."
A/N: Okay, so that's basically my take on Budapest… Hope you liked the story. I don't mean to make Clint one dimensional by focusing on the visual, but I see the visual aspect of painting being perfect for him with being a sniper being such a visual thing, so I see painting as a natural talent for him to have. That doesn't mean he can't have other talents like cooking or singing (other talents I've seen him given in fanfiction and like) just that they aren't the focus of this story.
Also, I have an idea for a second chapter, but I'm not sure about it… Clint painting a picture of Loki and Thor as kids. I kind of want to do it with Clint having caught of glimpse of Loki's mind/memories while Loki was controlling his mind, but wasn't sure if that was too unbelievable. Or he could use security images from the SHIELD, and age regression software. Or a bit of both, since Loki's face wouldn't likely be in his own memory. What do you guys think? Would you like a chapter like that?