Soli Deo gloria
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Avengers. Or Coke, even though I prefer Pepsi. I don't know entirely the history of Black Widow or Hawkeye, so just roll with me, okay? Thankies. :)
Natasha looked around her apartment and sighed. Things weren't going as well as she thought they would be.
She straightened up and wiped some of her red hair out of her eyes. After the invasion of the Chitauri and Loki, Fury had ordered that the Avengers split until they were called together again. Natasha had not wanted to return to Russia where memories of her Soviet spying days were. She was currently in an apartment in New York, and she was having a bit of a time moving in. She had paid vacation leave from S.H.I.E.L.D., seeing as they didn't have anyone for her to spy on at the moment. The past two weeks had been so busy she hadn't bothered tidying up her apartment.
Her bedroom was covered in clothes, some unwashed, some just thrown about. Dressed in a black tank and shorts and her hair in a ponytail, she was walking around the room, trying to collect things together.
She wrinkled her nose slightly as she began to pile clothes in her arms. Fighting enemies and shooting a man full of bullets was more of her forte than doing the laundry. Living life as a civilian was going to take some getting used to.
Natasha nearly had her unmade bed de-clothed when she heard her bedside table's phone ring. Holding the clothes steady, she made a grab for the phone, pressed a button and propped it up on her shoulder so that she could use her two hands.
"Romanoff," she muttered, "who is this?"
"Hey . . . Natasha?"
Natasha stopped for a moment and then said incredulously, "Clint?"
"Hi . . . again . . ."
Natasha raised an eyebrow and began to resume her laundry collecting. "Clint, why are you calling? Is it something to do with S.H.I.E.L.D.? Ohhh, don't tell me Loki's out again."
"No, no he isn't."
Natasha nodded even thought he couldn't see her and said, "That's good. What's up, then?"
"It's . . . ugh, this is hard to say . . ."
Natasha stopped walking and said, "Is there a little birdie?" That was the code for someone listening in on their conversations over the phone.
"What? Oh, no, not that. It's . . . I was just wondering . . . do you want to . . ."
"Ya know that little place we went to after the battle?"
Natasha smirked and said, "There's a lot of battles, Agent Barton. Which one are we talking about now?"
"The big one, with Thor and Stark and Banner and Cap," Clint said.
"You mean that little shawarma place?" Natasha asked, raising an eyebrow as she plopped everything into a laundry basket to take to the laundromat.
"Yeah, that one."
"What about it? You want to have dinner?" Natasha asked as she put the laundry basket at her hip. Readjusting her phone, she began to walk out of her bedroom.
"Do you want to?" said Clint's voice.
Natasha smirked slightly to herself as she held the basket with one hand and reached for the phone with her free hand. Holding the phone to her ear, she said, "Agent Barton, are you asking me out on a date?"
"Well . . ."
"Because I thought that you and I decided a long time ago that we would have a co-worker relationship?" Her smile disappeared as she said, "Budapest was a long time ago, Clint. There's no point in trying to dig up those days."
For the first time since their conversation started, Clint seemed to grab control of the conversation. "Natasha," he said, "I know that. You think I don't remember Budapest? Nat, those were some of the best days of my life."
Natasha straightened as he continued, "Things went to hell and then I met you and I don't know . . . you somehow made things seem like no matter what, things would come and go and I didn't need to let one thing hold me down for the rest of my life. Nat . . . it's just shawarma."
Natasha thought to herself as she began walking down the stairs of her building. After a moment, she said quietly, "They had some really good tabbouleh."
"Yeah, c'mon, it's just shawarma."
"And tabbouleh," Natasha reminded him.
"Yeah, tabbouleh too."
At the exit, Natasha sighed and said, "All right, but it's just shawarma. And tabbouleh. Tonight, six?"
"Be there then. See ya," and Natasha glanced down at her phone and clicked it off. Shoving it into her laundry basket, she hurried toward the laundromat. There was a nice shirt in the basket and she wanted it to be clean to wear out.
Natasha stood outside of the shawarma joint, looking around for any sign of Clint. She was wearing a nice dark blue shirt with her black leather jacket and black pants. She really should try to stray out of her comfort zone color wise, but she was used to wearing dark clothes. Black and dark colors blended in with the night, helping her spying. She was the Black Widow, after all, not the Pink Widow.
She dug her hands into her pockets and looked around the street. It had just been repaved a few days ago. The city had been in a standstill and in an uproar all at the same time when all the streets had to be patched up and the buildings repaired.
She looked now at the ground, remembering how Stark's body had been there, scaring them all half to death. She had seen him fall and then almost die. It was amazing to think that now the road looked perfectly fine. There was now cars riding over the spot where their philanthropist almost went and got himself killed.
She shuddered slightly and when she didn't see Clint, she tugged her jacket closer to her and headed into the restaurant.
She was immediately met with the smell of pickled vegetables and roasted meat. Looking around, she spotted a small table near the window that showed off a view of New York's traffic.
She took a seat at the small table, passing the communal table where she, Stark, Banner, Cap, Clint and Thor had eaten after the big battle. It had been a quiet affair, and once they were done, Thor took a doggy bag with him for Loki.
She leaned back in her seat, clasping her hands, and looked out the window. Amongst the many people walking around the streets, she caught sight of Clint, wearing sunglasses and a very dark purple leather jacket. She smirked to herself slightly as she saw him approach the door. He couldn't stay out of character too.
He entered and looked around, taking off his sunglasses. He caught sight of her and she stood up.
"Hey, Natasha," he said politely as he walked forward, holding out his hand. He cocked his head slightly and said, "Or are you Laura tonight?"
"Natasha Romanoff, Agent Barton," said Natasha coolly.
"Have you been waiting long?"
"Nah, just a couple of minutes," she replied, "shall we order?"
"Yeah, let's," Clint said, and they both turned to get in line behind the few people forming it.
They stood in line for a minute, both looking ahead, neither sure what to say. Natasha had no idea what he wanted to talk about and Clint had no idea what he wanted to talk about either.
"You look good," Natasha said conversationally as they took a couple of steps forward.
"Thanks. Been resting these last couple of weeks," said Clint.
"You deserve it. How are you feeling?" she asked, attempting to be sensitive.
"Sore, but I'm getting better," said Clint grimly.
"Doesn't sound like you're feeling better," said Natasha, raising an eyebrow as they moved on in the line.
"I'm trying to keep myself low key," Clint said with a glimmer in his eye.
Natasha couldn't help but slightly smile as he stepped up to the counter. The employee looked to Clint and asked, "What would you like?"
"Ah . . . I'll have a pita with shawarma," said Clint, looking carefully at the tiny writing on the menu.
"You want tabbouleh?" the employee wanted to know.
"Yeah, and um . . . cucumbers, hummus and tahini," he continued.
Clint shrugged and said, "Chips, I guess. And a Coke."
"All right, you next?" the employee asked, pointing to Natasha.
She blinked, a little startled, and said, "Oh, I'll have what he's having. A wrap, though."
"All right," and the employee turned to the cook.
"I'll pay," said Clint, turning to face Natasha.
"This is starting to sound like a date. What ever happened to just shawarma?" she replied with a quirky, twisted smile, which meant that she didn't mind him paying at all.
"Well, there's tabbouleh and chips too . . ."
Natasha smirked and Clint got his credit card through the machine without any trouble and he was handed a tray.
"Okay," he said, holding the tray as they surveyed the quiet restaurant, "where do you want to sit?"
"I have a spot," Natasha said, and she led him to the table looking out into the street.
They both settled on their wooden chairs and opened their soda cans. They didn't speak as they began to eat. Natasha, though trying not to, kept her eyes on him. He looked the same as he did two weeks ago when they had departed. For some reason, Natasha was sure that Fury didn't want any of the Avengers to contact each other when they weren't in service.
Frankly, he hadn't told her anything directly, and she only followed direct orders.
She took another bit of her wrap before saying, "So . . . hard to imagine that the city is up and running already."
Clint nodded and then swallowed before saying, "It is New York. Things have to be fast."
"That's true." Natasha put down her wrap and opened her chips quickly, saying quietly, "I've read in the newspapers that Stark Tower is getting repaired."
"Stark has to have his things fast," said Clint, a slight smile on his face.
"Yeah." Natasha said, shrugging. "It looks different, though. Like he redesigned it or something."
"You like it?" Clint asked, taking a swig from his Coke.
"I liked it better before. Maybe if we destroy it, he'll make it look different."
"Is that what he's going to do every time his tower gets destroyed?"
"I don't know. It was a guess," Natasha said, inserting a straw into her soda can.
"Yeah." Clint looked out the window, and after a moment said quietly, "What do you think they're all doing right now?"
"Not eating with you," Natasha said sarcastically before taking another bit of her wrap.
"Yeah. Just . . . what do you think Fury is doing?"
"Trying to find out what to do with the Council, I suppose," said Natasha.
"Yeah . . ." Clint straightened and looked from the people passing by to Natasha. His eyes become serious as he said, "What have you been doing? Been adjusting well?"
"You trying to find out where I live, Barton?" said Natasha, raising an eyebrow. "I'm a spy, Clint, you should know that I know that you're trying to turn this conversation toward me."
"Yeah, and what if I am?" Clint wanted to know.
Natasha looked at him hard for a moment, trying to make out what he was trying to do. He looked solemn as he crumpled his chip bag, still watching her. She was usually so good at reading people; this agent was a hard nut to crack.
"I would want to know why," she said finally.
Clint shrugged slightly, still bent over his sandwich. "I dunno. Maybe . . . ugh . . . I was just thinking . . ."
"About what? And please don't say Budapest," said Natasha.
"Did they teach you to read minds in spy school?" Clint asked.
Natasha lowered her eyebrows and said darkly, "I never went to a spy school, Clint. I was brainwashed and trained to be a spy. I thought we had decided back in that house by the lake that we WOULDN'T mention that."
Clint instantly said, "I'm sorry."
Natasha raised her eyebrows back up and mumbled, "You're forgiven."
"So . . ." Clint said after a minute had passed, "where do you live?"
"Why do you want to know?" Natasha asked in a light sort of voice. She knew that no matter how politely he asked, he wasn't getting an address.
"So I know where to go if I need to talk to you," said Clint quietly.
"You already have my phone number. Isn't that enough?" asked Natasha.
"I'd rather see you in person."
"Isn't that why we're in a restaurant, so we can see each other in person?" asked Natasha, giving him a cheesy grin that showed off her teeth. She quickly dropped the smile and resorted to her usual self. "I mean, seriously, this place has shawarma. I can cook, but not like this."
Clint smiled. "It is good shawarma."
Natasha nodded and Clint held out his Coke, saying, "To shawarma."
Natasha smiled good-naturedly and bumped his Coke with her own. "To shawarma."
They both took a deep drink of their soda before looking back to each other.
"We'll always have shawarma," said Clint with a soft smile.
Natasha smiled softly back at him. Now, if they came back here to this restaurant, they would have this visit to talk about. Even if they hadn't said anything interesting at all, it was something.
"We'll always have shawarma," Natasha repeated softly.
Frankly, I think all this shawarma business = Blackhawk date! I loved the Avengers, but because I'm a hopeless romantic, I LOVE Clintasha or whatever their shipping name is. As to the part Natasha says about the house by the lake, I dunno, adding to the great Budapest mystery, I guess.
I hope you liked my attempt at Avenger awesomeness, and please, let me know what you thought!