Chasing Cars

A/N: The song referenced (several times, I admit) in this is Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol; it is currently my favorite song, and it's simply beautiful. Sorry in advance for any OOC things - I'm not spectacular with Natasha or Clint.

~X~

When I first met Clint Barton, the only thing I was certain of was that, inevitably, I would see him again in the future. I didn't know why, or even how, but it was something I just knew. The next time we saw one another - as I'd predicted we would - he'd given me a look that said he'd known it, too. That was all it took; from then on, fate had us bound.

Our meetings were far and few between, but whenever we were together, he would sing. It was always the same song; always something about chasing cars.

At the start of those impromptu run-ins, everything was chalked up to coincidence - we would happen to have been assigned to the same area on a mission, and, no matter how dismal the circumstances, he would always sing, smiling wide.

In later years, we became parts of an organization called S.H.I.E.L.D., and our visitations were, therefore, frequent. No matter how many times we separated, there was a strange sort of comfort in knowing we'd always be back in each other's presence. That's saying quite a lot, coming from a woman who keeps her distance from nearly everyone, and it was a rather disconcerting feeling. I kept away from these sorts of emotions for a reason: To prevent myself from becoming enamored and, ultimately, getting myself hurt. These precautionary methods formed a theoretical fence around my heart, because trust is a fault and love is a weakness, damn it, but no matter what I told myself, fate wrote my story.

By the end of our first month in S.H.I.E.L.D., Clint and I were what I suppose you would call a couple.

They didn't call him Hawkeye for nothing, I'd discovered soon enough, because, not only could he hit a bull's-eye dead-center, he was quick to pick up on my most discreet quirks and involuntary habits.

"Hey, Natasha, did you know you always smile when I'm singing?"

"No, I didn't know..."

"That's good, though, because I was always singing to you."

We spent any free time in each other's arms, despite my fears of having my heart broken. Little by little, he'd torn my protective fence down. And, of course, when everything was more perfect than I thought was achievable, he sang. "We'll do it all, everything, on our own."

"You like it when I sing, don'tcha?"

"Oh, grow up." He seemed to know that meant yes, if his grin was anything to go by.

The night of the first birthday I had while in S.H.I.E.L.D., he'd stood outside my bedroom window with a radio, playing that ever-present song. After I'd pushed the window up and regarded him, hair tousled and nightgown-clad, he told me it was his favorite song, because it reminded him of me.

"If I just lay here, would you lay with me and just forget the world?"

For a while, I really could forget the world. Clint was always there to be my much-needed dose of optimism; he was always there to sing our song.

When the final addition to S.H.I.E.L.D., a man named Tony Stark whom I had the misfortune of knowing, had arrived, any good vibes and optimism had vanished. That wasn't because of Stark, himself, but because of what his addition meant. Fury had assembled the Avengers - that meant the world was well on its way to being destroyed.

For the longest of times, we strategized, planned, discovered, and prepared. We learned to get along and work together (Stark and Rogers being the last ones to give in and make up), and then, at last, we fought the biggest battle any of us had ever fought.

"How are we going to do this?"

"As a team."

In the end, once the smoke had cleared and every enemy had been dealt with, we could rejoice in our well-played match and victory. It wasn't until Captain's smile disappeared that he and I had the same epiphany at the same moment: "Where's Clint?"

Without meeting anyone's gaze, I pushed my way through the wreckage, circling around a crushed red automobile to come to the last point in my search. I found Clint on the ground with a small pool of blood forming beneath his head, and, before I'd had any chance to think about it, I was calling his name, kneeling at his side and pulling him close. I held him against my chest as the life steadily drained from his eyes, and through the film of tears blurring my vision, I registered that he was smiling. Smiling, even as he was so close to Death's door.

He weakly reached for my hand, pulling my glove off and clumsily entwining our fingers. "Natasha."

It wasn't a question, but I nodded, looking down at him where he lay. "I'm here, Clint."

"I know. You've always been there." I felt him try to lift my hand, but his own shook too badly to manage such a feat. "Which is why I want you to be the one to tell them...tell them I have a request for my funeral's song." He drew a slow breath, still smiling, though it looked more difficult for him to do now. "I want the ceremony of my death to commemorate my life."

Still shaking, he finally managed to lift my hand to his cheek, and, with a dull twinkle in his eye, shared his dying words. "That's why I want them to play our song."

~X~

All that I am,

Steve laid his quiver and arrows on his chest.

All that I ever was,

Thor and Bruce helped lower his casket into the ground, ever-so-slowly.

Is here in your perfect eyes,

Tony gave a speech as his grave was sealed.

They're all I can see.

And at his funeral, they played our song.

~X~

Let's waste time chasing cars around our heads.