Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers or any of the characters affiliated with them. If I did, there would totally be a Hawkeye/Black Widow movie in the works.
Author's Note: While I embrace constructive criticism remember this old saying if you choose to leave a review "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"
And we're back and in good time too! For all of you guys that hung with me while we were sans-Natasha in "Youngest in History" here you go! The origin of BlackHawk!
This is part of my "Vantage Point Universe" so if you haven't read my other stories ("Youngest In History", "Vantage Point", and "Trust") just be aware that this is part of a series. It can be enjoyed on its own, but things will hold more impact and make more sense if you've ready the others. :D Also, anybody that has checked out my profile in the past 24 hours will see that I've added another story to the very beginning of my list. If you thought Clint was young in "Youngest in History" just wait to you follow him from age 10 to 15 (almost 16) in "The Amazing Hawkeye" the story of Carson's Carnival of Traveling Wonders and Barney and everything from Clint's first round of target practice to the heartbreaking betrayal that set him on his course to eventually catch SHIELD's attention.
Thanks to Rain in the Dark for acting as my Russian translator!
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. –C.G. Jung
Clint grunted as his back slammed into the sparring mat. He put one hand on Natasha's knee and the other on her ankle, twisting her leg off his body. Before she could retaliate, he rolled backwards and to his feet. No sooner had he righted himself, then she was on him again, her foot flying high towards his face. He ducked, grabbing her leg after it past and twisting to anchor it to his side. He leaned back, watching her second leg pass a breath from his face. She was off balance when she landed, her leg twisted awkwardly. He used the brief moment to his advantage. Using her leg as leverage, he twisted his body into the air, scissoring his legs around her waist and using his body weight to send them both careening to the mat. He rolled away quickly, but not before she snapped her elbow into his thigh. The extra second it took for him to get to his feet was all it took.
Then her thighs were around his neck and he was on his back again. He struggled uselessly for a moment before sighing and tapping her thigh twice. She released him immediately and rolled effortlessly to her feet. He stayed on his back for an extra moment, breathing heavily.
"You're getting better." She informed him, holding out a hand to help him up. He accepted it gratefully and let her haul him to his feet.
"Really? Cuz from my angle you still kicked my ass firmly and effectively." He breathed a laugh, massaging his sore thigh. She frowned at him.
"I never understand why you laugh even when I beat you."
"Romanoff, I always get beaten when I spar with you. I'm laughing because there are worse ways to go down than with your thighs around my neck." He smirked, blue grey eyes twinkling mischievously.
He expected the hard punch to his shoulder, so he was still chuckling even as he grunted in pain.
"You should take this seriously." She lectured as she moved over to her towel and wiped her forehead.
"I do take it seriously." He shrugged, "In the moment at least."
"Barton, you never take anything seriously."
"Well someone has to make up for you taking everything seriously. You need to learn to laugh a little Romanoff." He nudged her shoulder, pulling the front of his shirt up to wipe the sweat from his forehead.
Natasha blinked at his suddenly exposed abdomen, feeling her mouth go dry at their sculpted near-perfection, marred only by his numerous scars, before reaching abruptly for his towel. She averted her eyes and threw it at his face.
"I laugh." She defended sharply.
"Okay. That little huffy half laugh thing you do when I say something you want to pretend doesn't amuse you…doesn't count." He explained with a chuckle, using the towel to wipe his neck.
She frowned at him.
"Why doesn't that count?" She asked after a moment.
"Because that's not real laughing, Romanoff. That's huffy half laughing."
"And what is real laughing, Barton? Since apparently you're the expert." She waved her hand demonstratively before crossing her arms over her chest. His eyes narrowed at the glare she had leveled at him.
"You know." He shrugged, "Like when something's so funny you laugh until your sides hurt. Or when a situation is so shitty that the only way you get through it is to laugh about the stupidest things." He explained with a smile. "That's laughing, Romanoff."
"Well maybe you just aren't funny enough." She countered with a dismissive shrug, taking a long draw from her water bottle.
He scoffed, putting a hand to his chest as if to say he was wounded by her words.
"Uh, I am totally funny enough. Your sense of humor is just as monotone as corpse."
Natasha rolled her eyes.
"Whatever, идиот." She muttered.
"идиот?" Clint arched an eyebrow. "That the best you got? I thought you'd at least come up with something more creative than that."
"I liked you better when you weren't so good at Russian." She rolled her eyes again as she linked her hands behind her back and stretched out her chest.
Clint blinked when he found himself watching her. He cleared his throat and averted his attention to anything else.
"Well I was bound to get better, especially at recognizing insults. What with the frequency you hurl them at me." He replied, gathering his water bottle, "Hell, I'm practically fluent now and you only have yourself to blame, Барышня ."
"Don't call me that." She snapped with a glare.
"Whatever, Барышня." He mocked, turning to leave. He came up short when he nearly collided with Coulson. "Jesus, Phil…" Clint looked around, "Do I need to put a bell around your neck? How do you always do that?" He laughed.
"It's easy when you aren't paying attention to your surroundings." Phil scolded. He glanced at both of them, drenched in sweat. "I guess I don't need to ask who won."
"Why don't you need to ask? Maybe I won."
The sudden disbelieving scoff from Natasha earned her an annoyed glare. She shrugged it off, unconcerned.
"If you're done." Coulson drew both of their attention back to him. "We have a mission."
"About time." Clint complained.
"Well if you hadn't gotten shot, again, we wouldn't have had to wait three weeks for you to be back on active duty." Natasha pointed out, jabbing a finger in his right side.
"Hey…tender." He frowned at her. "And it was a through and through in the muscle…no harm, no foul."
"Your definition of 'no harm' is very interesting." Natasha shot back easily.
"You almost sound concerned." He smirked.
"Don't bet on it."
"Clint!" Phil snapped, "Romanoff!" He frowned at their wide eyed innocent looks. "Like I was trying to tell you. Briefing in fifteen minutes. Get showered, get changed, and don't be late." He angled the last instruction at Clint, who shrugged innocently.
"That was one time."
Natasha scowled at her partner's empty chair. At the head of the table, Coulson tapped his pen against the file in front of him.
"He's not late yet." He pointed out calmly.
"He's doing this on purpose." She replied. They both started when the air vent above them shifted and Clint poked his head into view.
"Hey guys." He greeted, "I'm not late am I?"
"You know there's this thing called a door. You know it, hinges and a handle…makes entering rooms surprisingly less complicated." Natasha snapped sarcastically as he dropped easily out of the vent and to the ground next to her.
"Look whose sense of humor got a pulse. Was that sarcasm, Romanoff? Color me amazed."
"Bite me." She snapped as he moved around to his seat.
"Don't tempt me." He shot back, glaring back mockingly when she leveled him with a heated gaze.
"Children." Coulson drew their attention. "Clint, the air ducts? Really?"
The archer shrugged, unwilling to explain his method of entrance.
"Probably checking his nest." Natasha muttered, thinking of the pile of blankets he had hoarded up in the air duct above his room. It was where he escaped to when he didn't want to be found. She was pretty sure only she and Coulson knew about it, and only Coulson had ever ventured up there before and only on an extreme occasion.
Clint gave her an approving grin for the comment.
"Romanoff from left field, not bad."
She hid her own grin by looking down at her brief.
Clint looked to Phil who was looking exasperated.
"Phil, what are you waiting for? What's the mission?"
"Vietnam." Coulson replied, sliding a brief to Clint across the table. His agent, suddenly focused, started flipping through it. "Human trafficking."
"What's the play?" Clint asked. Natasha looked up as well, waiting for the answer.
"Prisoners?" Natasha asked.
"Free them if you can…but don't risk the mission." Coulson instructed. "We need them shut down, permanently…and with prejudice."
"I love it when we do things with prejudice." Clint grinned and glanced at Natasha, "We could do it like Nigeria." He offered.
"I was thinking that or like Romania."
"Which time? With the twins?"
"No, Barton. How would that make any sense? The other time, with the guy that limped."
He nodded in understanding.
"That thing in Barcelona worked really well too." He added, rubbing his jaw in thought.
Her eyes lighted in agreement.
"That was highly effective…efficient too."
"We can discuss it on the flight." Coulson interrupted. "Learn your briefs. We leave at 0500."
"Sounds good, Phil." Clint raised his hand to pat Coulson's arm as the agent clapped a hand on his shoulder as he left. He and Natasha glanced at each other.
"Dinner?" He shrugged.
"I'll treat." She grinned as she stood, gathering her brief with her.
"Damn, Romanoff, that's three jokes in one sitting…slow down or you might hurt yourself." He laughed as he followed her out of the briefing room and towards the mess hall.
She rolled her eyes and grinned so he couldn't see.
"This…is…disgusting." Natasha complained as she picked at her hamburger. "Did you see that? I think it moved."
Clint blinked at her mid chew, lowering his eyes briefly to her burger then raising them back to her.
"Who are you, the Queen of England? It's a burger."
"I know what it is, but this is gross. It must have been sitting there all day."
"Here." He shoved his plate half full of spaghetti towards her. "I'm done anyways."
She accepted it without comment, still eyeing her abandon burger warily. Clint flipped open his briefing and snagged a fry off her burger plate.
"You're going to eat that?" She stared.
He froze, fry half in his mouth, eyes wide.
"That was the plan…until two seconds ago, what the hell?"
"It was with the burger."
"Astute observation. I speak for the class when I say…so what?"
"With what? Burger germs?" Clint mocked popping the fry into his mouth.
"No with whatever I saw crawling around on the bun."
Clint promptly spit the fry back onto the plate.
"I told you it was moving." She gestured at the burger. Clint glanced at her, then at the burger, then back at her, suddenly feeling nauseous. He shook himself, looking back at his brief.
"Anyway," he cleared his throat, "not a lot of intel on the organization itself. Just a location and a few names…huh," He trailed off, reading intently.
"What?" She prompted.
"Not even an idea of where the people are coming from."
"Could be anywhere these days." She shrugged.
"Nasty world we live in, isn't it." He shook his head, continuing to read through the brief. "Looks like they're the farm. They collect the people to be trafficked and then send them out by the container load as needed."
"Charming." She muttered.
"Yeah, the ass hat that runs it is a real prize." Clint agreed.
"Introduce me to the ass hat." She smirked.
Clint slid spun a picture on the table so she could see the face.
"Meet Alan Carter…Alan? Really?" Clint studied the name again. "Not the name I expected to match that pretty face."
Natasha studied the photograph. Alan Carter's face was noticeably scarred from what looked like a knife. The look in his eyes was as evil as she'd ever seen.
"This is gonna be fun." Clint grinned.
Natasha smiled at his enthusiasm. In their two years of partnership, she'd come to learn he really enjoyed taking down bad guys. The more evil the target, the more he enjoyed it. And god help the target if he'd ever harmed an innocent, because then it wasn't just fun for Clint. It was a personal mission of destruction. Alan Carter had just gained the attention of SHIELD's premiere assassin and Natasha didn't envy him that.
"You done?" Clint asked, motioning at her cleaned plate.
"Let's get out of here then." He stood, grabbing his brief and waiting for her to lead the way before he followed.
"Something doesn't feel right." Natasha announced from where she sat cross-legged on the sparring mat.
"What's wrong?" Clint asked from where he was laid out on his back, his legs were propped up on an inflatable exercise ball. As he read over his brief, he lazily rolled the ball back and forth with his legs.
"I don't know. I just feel like we're missing something." She replied, looking up from her brief to regard him. He rolled his head to meet her eyes.
"Yeah, I know what you mean." He admitted, then he smiled suddenly, "That'll sure make things interesting."
"Interesting wasn't quite the word that came to mind." She rolled her eyes.
"We never know everything going in."
"Yeah…and usually things go wrong because of that."
"Not that time in Dubai. That mission was flawless from start to finish."
"You do realize that one flawless mission in two years of partnership isn't something to be proud of."
"Our 98.3% success rate is, though. So flawless or not, we can handle whatever gets thrown at us." He decided confidently.
Natasha inclined her head in acquiescence. He had a point. They were the best team at SHIELD because of their ability to roll with the, sometimes literal, punches and adapt to changing situations.
Clint flipped his brief closed and rolled into a backwards somersault to his feet.
"I'm getting some shut eye. Given that we have wheels up in three hours."
"Yeah, I'm heading to bed too." She agreed, rising gracefully.
"See you in the A.M., Romanoff." Clint tossed over his shoulder as he headed towards the door.
"It already is the A.M., Barton." She reminded, following his path. She entered the hallway in time to see him slip into his room. She stared at his closed door for a moment before moving to her own room.
Natasha dreamed of blood. She dreamed of faces. They were old faces and young faces, different races, different beliefs, but all dead. Dead because of her. Then something else forced its way into her dream. A bright light in a sea of darkness and it called to her. It shot arrows of light into the darkness that wanted to consume her, punish her. And it called to her, promising redemption.
She woke with a start, breathing hard. She pushed her sheets off and stood abruptly, moving quickly to the bathroom. She splashed water on her face, trying to calm her racing heart, settle the twisting of her stomach as she remembered all the blood on her hands. Almost Barton's blood, once upon a time.
She stared at herself in the mirror, trying to figure out what he'd seen. What had Clint Barton seen in her that no one else had ever seen? She looked down at her hands, imagining them covered in red. Barton had been teaching her ways to wash that blood away. Had been helping her, one day at a time, to wipe her ledger clean.
And he didn't even know it.
Whether she would ever tell him or not, she knew she owed Clint Barton everything. He had saved her from a path that would only end in darkness. And he continued to save her everyday with his humor, his sarcasm, and his undeniable goodness. He saved her even from her dreams.
With a sigh, she pushed away from the sink and left the bathroom. She needed to work off some energy. She wasn't going to be able to sleep again tonight. She wandered slowly to her and Clint's private training room. They were deemed too advanced to train with the rest of the SHIELD agents. So somehow Barton had talked Coulson into getting them their own training room.
From what she'd learned about Barton over the past three years, Coulson had pulled him from general training completely a year and a half after bringing him in. It wasn't until she came though, that they'd gotten a private training room. Before Clint brought her in, they'd apparently trained before and after hours. Though she'd heard rumors of the archer intimidating people out various areas of the training gym.
He used to be even more possessive over the range.
Now he had both in one place and no one but them and Coulson had access.
She slowed when she reached the door. There was a soft light bleeding under the door. Silently, she pushed the swinging door in a little.
She knew he dreamed, just like she did. Neither of them slept well or for any great amount of time. He never talked about it though and neither did she. Although, she'd seen him talking quietly with Coulson on the roof one night and something told her their handler knew more about Clint than she ever would. They both had their own ways of coping, and sharing wasn't one of hers.
She beat up on a punching bag, it was her catharsis.
Arrow after arrow flew flawlessly to his array of targets at the other end of his range. He usually moved when he practiced, reasoning that he would rarely get a chance to sit still and take careful aim. He was doing that tonight. Sprinting around the room, firing shots that should be nearly impossible and hitting the target with deadly accuracy every time.
She smirked when he ran towards his gymnast bar, pulling his bow string over his head as he moved. He grabbed it with both hands, swinging his body up and around. She knew his goal. Coulson had installed a series of steel bars and beams in the ceiling and Clint loved to practice both his archery and his agility up there.
And she had to admit that even at her best, she couldn't compete with him when he was up there. Height, agility, and firing arrows all thrown together into one activity. It was his element.
He swung his body around the bar a few times, speeding his momentum with each circuit. Then he released, soaring up in the air. He flipped once, his hands snagging a beam. A breath and he was up, balancing with ease. She watched him pull off his bow and let another arrow fly.
She'd just do some shadow sparring in her room, she decided, letting the door fall closed before he could notice her.
Clint turned suddenly towards the door, certain he was being watched. But the door was closed and he was alone. He frowned. He'd felt her eyes on him, he was sure of it. Two years they'd been partnered, known each other for three, and she still hovered like a shadow sometimes, like she wasn't sure she wanted to interact with him. But he was tuned to her. He could feel it when she was nearby. He refused to consider what that might mean.
She slept about as little as he did, he'd noticed. But when she wandered the halls at night, she usually steered clear of him. If he was in the training room, she found a different place to blow off her steam. She wasn't a sharer, he'd realized that the first time they'd met. But he couldn't hold it against her, he wasn't a sharer either. Coulson was his one exception. The man had earned the right to know what was going on in Clint's head.
He'd been like her once, though. Secluding himself in his pain, believing he didn't deserve to be free of it. It had taken the stubborn persistence and steadfast reliability of a man named Phil Coulson to get through to him.
Romanoff needed her own Phil Coulson.
Clint was inspecting their jet when Natasha got to the hangar. He wouldn't be flying them, she knew, but he always inspected anything before they took off. She could see ear buds in his ears, connected to a black wire that snaked down into his black jacket. He loved his iPod.
"Morning, Agent Romanoff." Coulson greeted, appearing beside her.
"Agent Coulson." She replied, tracking Clint's progress around the jet.
"I assume you both read over the mission brief."
"We went over it last night." She nodded sharply. "I'm confident we've learned all we can from the files."
Coulson nodded. Romanoff was ever the professional. It was a nice balance to Clint's tendency to take the most unprofessional track he could, all while creating a nice mocking illusion of professionalism. The real beauty of it, Coulson believed, was the sheer number of people that fell for the illusion and never realized the humor behind Clint's façade.
They both watched curiously as what they assumed was their pilot suddenly strode in from across the hangar and made a bee-line for where Clint was bobbing his head in time with whatever tune he was listening too and inspecting one of the jet engines. Natasha rolled her eyes heavenward, praying for Clint to just bow out gracefully and not allow a confrontation to develop.
She watched the pilot reach to pull Clint's hand away from the engine.
So much for that.
Clint had the guy's hand twisted up and around faster than they could blink. Nobody touched Clint. He just didn't like it. There were exactly two people in the whole wide world that he allowed inside his personal bubble. Phil and Natasha. Even then for Natasha to be allowed close they had to be sparring, or he had to be injured with only her around to provide medical care.
She didn't mind and wasn't offended. She was the exact same way, only she didn't have that relationship with Coulson. For her, Barton was the only one that ever touched her.
It was just something people knew about them.
Most SHIELD staff knew that Clint didn't like being touched and respected it. But most SHIELD staff also knew Clint. Natasha had discovered three types of people in the base. First, the people that respected Clint's abilities and experience and deferred to him. Next, the people that were scared shitless of him and avoided him entirely. And finally, the ones that thought he was a spook that shouldn't be allowed among the general population, and treated him like he was an outsider.
The way the pilot was looking at their resident archer suggested he was part of the final group. This wasn't going to end peacefully. As soon as Clint locked up his hand, the man started spouting off curses at the assassin. She saw Clint's eyebrows rise in what she thought might have been amusement. He still hadn't taken out his ear buds.
Natasha glanced at Coulson to see if he would intervene. He was unpredictable in his defenses of Clint. Sometimes he would be in the aggressor's face in an instant, tearing a strip off them for disrespecting SHIELD's best agent. Other times he hung back, let Clint handle it however he wanted. She didn't know what created the distinction in their handler's mind, but apparently today was a sit back and watch day because Coulson just crossed his arms over his chest and watched with a furrowed brow.
Natasha strained to hear what the pilot was saying, unconsciously leaning towards the confrontation.
"Where the hell do you get off, touching my bird?" The pilot was hissing.
"I was just checking it over, man, I do that every time I go up, no matter who's flying." Clint was actually trying to reason with the man. He must have been in a good mood.
"Not on my bird." The pilot shot back.
"What are you five?" Clint laughed mockingly, "I'm a pilot, man, it's habit. Plus there was this time in Mumbai…" Clint stopped abruptly when the pilot reached out and yanked out Clint's ear buds by the wire. Clint blinked slowly.
"I don't care, Spook." The pilot hissed. "My bird, my rules."
"Did you just pull out my headphones?" Clint asked carefully, as if he were baffled that it had actually happened.
"Clint." Coulson warned from where he still stood arms crossed.
Natasha looked back at him, only then realizing she'd started towards the duo. To do what, she wasn't sure.
"It's cool, Phil." Clint called back, not taking his eyes from the pilot. "But I think I will fly us after all, on this jet."
"What?" The pilot raged.
"Clint." Coulson warned more firmly.
"Our former pilot is medically unable to complete his duties." With that, he twisted sharply and Natasha knew without hearing it that the bones in his wrist had just snapped. "That should teach you to treat people like dirt and to pull out their headphones when they're listening to music." Clint lectured, releasing the pilot, who stumbled back, cradling his hand to his chest.
"I'm gonna report your ass, Barton."
"No you won't." Natasha countered, shifting silently to stand at Clint's shoulder.
Where Clint garnered three different types of reactions from people, Natasha brought out exactly one. Fear. Even in the three years she'd been working for SHIELD, she was still the Black Widow to them, the most deadly contract assassin to ever live. People didn't cross her, people didn't look at her, people never disagreed with her. Except Clint. He had never shown a hint of fear around her, not even when they'd first met. And Coulson. Coulson was just too calm and collected for anyone but Clint, who seemed to be able to read they're handler's mind 99% of the time, to ever know what he was thinking.
Natasha didn't mind the two exceptions, but she definitely enjoyed the rest of the population's reactions to her. Clint called her a sadist, but always with a cheeky smile on his face.
This pilot was no exception.
He shifted uncomfortably under her sharp green gaze.
"Go." She stated impatiently, waving her hand as if he was inconveniencing her.
He went. Quickly.
"You enjoyed that." Clint stated with a smirk. "Admit it."
Natasha flipped her long curly fiery hair over her shoulder and smirked.
"I knew it." He grinned. "You're a sadist."
"Clint." Coulson was suddenly standing with them. "Really?" He asked with an exasperated sigh.
"He pulled my ear buds out of my ears." Clint defended with a huff. "Who does that?"
"You broke his wrist."
"It'll probably improve his piloting." Clint shot back.
Coulson arched an eyebrow, his cheek twitching as he held back a smirk.
"Better load up, we've got a schedule to keep." The handler advised before turning away to board the jet, he spoke over his shoulder as he walked. "And if he goes complaining to anybody, none of this happened."
Clint laughed, motioning Natasha dramatically towards the jet's bay door.
"If you had just walked away, we could have avoided the entire confrontation." She pointed out, leading the way onto the jet.
"Like you would have walked away." He countered, passing her to climb into the pilot seat. He started his pre flight checks with one hand while putting his ear buds back in their place with his other. "We need an iPod hook up in here, Phil." He tossed over his shoulder as the engines hummed to life under his control.
"I'll get right on that." Phil replied absently, already sorting through files in his seat.
"Romanoff? Wanna learn to fly the jet yet?" Clint twisted to look at her.
Natasha was sitting in the seat directly behind the co-pilot seat.
"No." She refused simply.
"It's a good idea." Coulson advised, glancing up at her from his file. "Don't you think you've put it off long enough?" He arched an eyebrow.
She narrowed her eyes, glancing from him to Clint.
"Fine." She snapped, stalking the three steps to the co-pilot chair and sliding into it. "Teach me." She waved at the control panel demonstratively.
"Baby steps, Romanoff. Once I get us air borne, I'll let you take her for a spin." Clint laughed. He slipped his headphones out of his ears and pulled on the headset and then motioned her to do the same with the set sitting next to her. "This is Quinjet Alpha-Zulu-0-7-3-1, am I cleared to exit the hangar?" He spoke into the microphone that curved around in front of his mouth from the headset.
"All clear, Alpha-Zulu-0-7-3-1."
"Roger that, engaging throttle in 3-2-1-engaged."
Natasha felt the power of the engines come to life as Clint slowly eased what she assumed was the throttle forward. The jet slowly taxied forward until it was completely out of the hangar.
"Cleared for takeoff, Alpha-Zulu-0-7-3-1."
"Engaging thrusters in 3-2-1-engaged." Clint eased another control forward and the jet rose vertically from the ground. Natasha watched them rise until they were above the highest point of the SHEILD base. Then Clint pushed forward on the throttle and they shot forward.
Natasha watched him use one hand to steer the jet and the other to pull the headset off one ear and put his precious ear bud back into place. He handled the jet so effortlessly, barely seemed to be paying attention to what he was doing as he started patting his pockets for something.
"Here." Coulson leaned up and held out a pair of black sunglasses.
"Where did I…"
"In your pack." Coulson answered the question before Clint could get it out.
Natasha didn't know how they did that.
"Ready to take her?" Clint asked, oblivious to her observations.
"I don't know which way to go." She pointed out.
"That," he pointed at a small screen on the console. "Is a GPS. As long as your little plane is on that green line, you're good. Now, see those twin levers?" She nodded, "Put a hand on each of them." He glanced at her, "Hold them like you mean it, Romanoff." He instructed. She gripped the twin levers more confidently. "Okay, now I'm going to let go. This baby is pretty responsive so subtle movements. Go ahead, take her for a spin."
Clint sat back and waited. Nothing happened. They continued flying in a straight, uninterrupted line. He glanced at his co-pilot. Natasha was sitting rigidly, her hands tight around the levers.
"Relax, Romanoff." He coaxed. "I'll get us back on track, just get to know her, turn left, turn right."
She pursed her lips and moved the right lever. The jet banked sharply.
"Subtle!" Clint reminded, tossing an apologetic look at Coulson, who was retrieving a file that had slipped off his lap onto the floor.
It was too late; Natasha was already overcorrecting back to the left. Clint unhooked his harness, slipped off his headset and moved to her side. Without asking permission, he wrapped his hands around hers, and eased them back to the right path.
"Now." Clint instructed quietly, "Subtle movements." He repeated, gently moving her right hand. The jet smoothly coasted into a soft turn. "And then back…" he eased her left hand and the jet smoothly sailed back to where it had been. "Your turn." He turned his head to look at her, suddenly acutely aware of how close he was to her. Her emerald green eyes were staring straight at him, her expression blank. But there was intensity in her eyes. There was always intensity in her eyes.
He cleared his throat and stepped back.
Natasha silently released the breath she'd been holding ever since he'd leaned over her to help her pilot. She swallowed, leaned forward, and flipped her hair over her shoulder. Carefully, she eased the jet to the right, then to the left, and then eyed the GPS and made a minor correction so they were back on the correct path.
"Very good." Clint praised, moving back to his seat. He cleared his throat again when he saw Coulson watching him seriously and slid back into the pilot's chair.
End of Chapter 1
And here we go! This story isn't the origin of their sort-of-friendship or partnership, those are both already established at this point. It is literally the origin of their relationship. So at this point they are both firmly planted in the land of denial about how they feel about each other. Just wanted to lay that out there and be clear about the direction this story was headed.
This story is completem, though not as long as Youngest in History, so as usual you can expect daily morning updates :D (at least it's morning for me)
Oh and by the way, I'm in the process of building a webpage for this universe so that I can post character pictures, biographies, and such. That way you can all see how I imagine the characters I create and get a full concise look at each character :) Don't know when I'll actually get it out there, but I'm hoping to get it up and running within the next several weeks.
Reviews make me happy!
Here's your preview
Clint reached to rub his eyes, stretching his lithe body out to its full length.
Natasha looked away abruptly when she caught herself staring. She glanced self-consciously at Coulson, who was watching her thoughtfully. She shifted her gaze away, choosing to study a pattern in the wood of their table.
Clint stood from his cot, ear buds still in place, and stretched again.
Natasha wished he'd just get stretched already.