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 are back with the long awaited sequel to "Trust".
I wanted to issue a special thanks to those reviewers who have been faithfully reading and reviewing all of my stories. I realized after posting the last chapter of Vietnam that only recognizing the few that reviewed every chapter wasn't fair to those of you who have stuck with me through all four stories so far. That being said, I want to issue a special thanks to discordchick (also my top reviewer), Liliththestormgoddess, RetekaHyuuga, Dani9513, Strawberrywaltz, animexluva13, Fyroni, xx-Forever Yours-xx, Oakleaf, authorunable, and AlwaysABrandNewDay for having reviewed at least once (many of the multiple times) in every story story so far.
There's a handful that have read and reviewed at least 3 of the stories and thanks to them too: CyanB, Leo-firefly, j3ntheninja, tic tac toe 03, clovely-little-me, juniper294, ReviewerWhoBegsForUpdates, Sinkme, TheNaggingCube, Shanynde, BrokenSky49, VoldieBeth, ellabella89, the frozen cherry, the real vampire, KelpBass, Clove25, Tsukinoko1, ImaSupernaturalCSI, and TheFictionalMe.
If I've forgotten anybody, I'm terribly sorry! I spent HOURS making a spreadsheet to track reviews because I want to get in the habit of thanking reviewers more specifically. Needless to say my computer screen started blurring after a while lol :D
To clovely-littleme: I have been toying with the idea of doing a story where Barney, Swordsman, and Trickshot all come back into Clint's life. When I have the details worked out, I'll post it on the list on my profile :)
For those of you new to my stories, this is in my "Vantage Point Universe" which has four completed stories in it already. If you haven't read them, I would highly suggest it as it will give you the full scope of the series and make everything that happens in this story that much more impactful. However, it's not strictly necessary to read them to enjoy this.
As you can see, the reviewer votes were in the favor of posting now and taking a break over the weekend while I'm out of town.
So, I'll stop rambling now and without further ado, here's the sequel to Trust.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.- C. S. Lewis
July 12, 2013
The silence of the cemetery was broken by the roar of the black Ducati as it sped through the front gate. The driver pulled to a stop less than a minute later, nudging down his kick stand, and turning off the bike. His passenger unwrapped her arms from around his waist and swung her leg off the bike, running a hand through her windblown shoulder length fiery red hair.
"Are you ready?" Natasha asked quietly, watching as Clint swung his body off the bike and pulled off his sunglasses. She pushed hers up into her hair and waited for him to respond.
"As I'll ever be, I guess," he sighed, holding out his hand.
She took it and together they walked away from the bike, weaving through headstones until they found the plot of six headstones that belonged to the Coulson family. Clint sat down next to Phil's name and leaned back against the granite. Natasha sat next to him, leaning into his side and pulling his arm over her shoulder.
With a deep sigh, Clint rested his free hand on the grass in front of the headstone.
"You okay?" Natasha asked softly.
"Yeah," he replied quietly. "Ten years today, since he kicked my ass across that alley in Vienna." He shook his head. "Never thought I'd be commemorating the day without him."
Natasha didn't say anything, just snuggled closer to his side.
"This time last year I couldn't even bring myself to visit his grave," Clint continued.
"It was too fresh. You weren't ready," Natasha replied softly. "He'd only been gone three months."
"And now it's been over a year," he sighed. "Three months shy of nine years working together and this is how it ended." He curled his fingers into the soft ground, feeling the dirt shift beneath his fingers.
"Everything ends eventually. It's the job of the one's left behind to make sure it's always remembered."
Clint's jaw clenched, before he blew out a breath, titling his head to rest on the top of hers.
"He always had this way of celebrating every year that passed without making a huge deal about it. Sometimes it was a fluff mission that was more vacation than anything. Sometimes it was a day off. Five years was the knife and Hawaii. At three years I was finally recovered from Croatia. He gave me back my bow and was there when I fired it for the first time in four months." He smiled suddenly. "A few days later I was sent to France and eventually sent after you."
"Just two and a half weeks later I shot you in my safe house." She smiled back.
"Yes," Clint laughed. "Phil was pissed about that."
"He told me when we got partnered, that no matter how tempting it was at times, I couldn't shoot you again."
"I bet there were several times over those nine years he wanted to pop a shot off at me. But the man had the patience of a saint."
"I've heard that patience is a vice."
Clint looked up in surprise, watching Tony and Pepper stroll up hand in hand.
"Tony," he greeted with a genuine smile. "What are you doing here?"
"A little birdie told me you might need some company." The billionaire shrugged and sat down on the opposite side of the tombstone. Pepper mirrored Natasha's position and Clint glanced at his partner.
"Coulson would have wanted you to spend today with your new team as well as your old," she whispered quietly.
Clint smiled warmly at her, the kind of smile that he reserved only for her. His attention was pulled to his friend when Tony spoke.
"So ten years, huh? What's it like to have the same boss for that long? Was Fury always such a pain in the ass?"
"He's mellowed with age."
The two men shared a smirk. It had been almost six months since their foray into South Africa and run in with Ricardo LeRoux. Since then, Clint and Tony had become firm and loyal friends, closer than Clint was with anyone but Natasha.
Tony looked at Clint's hand, curled in the dirt of Coulson's grave. In a silent show of support, he casually reached over and patted Clint's arm. The archer granted him an acknowledging smile and the four fell into silence.
Tony never could handle silence for too long.
"It's almost unreasonably quiet here, isn't it?" the genius mused aloud.
"It's a cemetery, Tony," Pepper reminded with a frown.
"So? Does that mean there isn't any life here?"
"I think it does by definition." Clint smirked.
"It's supposed to peaceful," Pepper scolded.
"It's depressing," Tony huffed.
"It's a cemetery."
Clint shared a grin with Natasha at the bickering between their companions. Their attention was drawn suddenly to their left when a deceptively young voice called out in greeting.
"Sorry we're late." Steve smiled as he strode towards them, Bruce at his side. "We were waiting for a late arrival." He motioned behind him and stepped aside, revealing Thor, who was smiling broadly.
"Greetings my friends!" the Asgardian boomed merrily as he strode forward.
"Goldilocks!" Tony smiled widely, "You're back!"
"Indeed I am." Thor leaned forward to grasp Clint's forearm where he had his hand outstretched. "It has been far too long, most noble archer," he greeted warmly.
"Glad you're back, big guy," Clint smiled.
"Widow in Black." Thor nodded at Natasha, who smiled. "Lady Potts." He nodded to Pepper. She smiled widely at the chivalrous title. Thor moved to stand next to Steve.
"He says he's back for a while this time," Bruce volunteered as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants.
"Yes, I do regret that my duties on Asgard have kept me away from this most noble realm for so long," Thor agreed. "However, it is my intent to remain here for a considerable length of time, both to reunite with Jane and to fulfill my purpose as one of your Avengers."
"Is Jane still at the new site in Montana?" Pepper asked curiously.
"Indeed. I intend to travel to her in a three week's time. She has told me she will have reached the conclusion of her current project in that time and I will no longer be what she calls an 'entirely wanted, but must be avoided distraction'."
"Well we're glad to have you back." Steve clapped him on the shoulder as the three newly arrived men dropped to sit around Coulson's grave. They were all silent for a few minutes, staring thoughtfully at the headstone of their lost friend.
"It's hard to believe it's been over a year," Bruce mused quietly.
"A lot has changed," Steve agreed.
"For the better, I think." Tony shrugged carelessly, but there was a serious perceptiveness in his eyes as he held Pepper closer and reached to lightly punch Clint's shoulder. Clint looked around at his team and couldn't disagree. The only thing that would have made it perfect would be if Phil was there with them.
Silence reigned again for several moments, each of them lost in their own thoughts. Finally, Steve cleared his throat.
"So Clint, we have a surprise for you."
"Should I be concerned?" Clint smirked.
"No," Steve smiled.
"At least not yet," Tony added.
Steve ignored him and continued.
"To honor your tenth anniversary of joining SHIELD, we've organized a small celebration."
"You guys didn't have to do that." Clint shook his head. He was being ignored, though, as Steve, Thor, and Tony all grew immensely animated as they explained their plan. Even Bruce looked excited as he added in his own pieces. He glanced at Natasha when she nudged him.
"They've been planning this for weeks. Just let them have their fun," she whispered for only his ears. Clint sighed and nodded. He would never admit how much it warmed him to know that his friends, his team, his family cared so much. Though he should have expected it after what they did for his birthday back in April.
"So, you just sit back and let us do everything," Tony instructed firmly.
"I think I can handle that," Clint smiled.
"Good! Well, then it's time to disperse to our various duties. Except for you, of course." He grinned at Clint and climbed to his feet. "See you back at the Tower." He gripped Clint's offered hand and led Pepper back the way they'd come.
"I, as well, have most important matters to tend to, so I will bid you farewell for a short time." Thor rose as well.
"I'm his ride, so I guess that means I'm off too." Bruce stood. "Ready, Steve?"
"Yes, if I'm going to do this, I'll need plenty of time to get everything ready."
Clint watched bemusedly as the last of them disappeared out of view.
"It'll be fun." Natasha twisted so she could look him in the eye. "I'll make sure the dinner is edible," she promised.
"Since when do you cook?" Clint teased. She slapped his arm, harder than was strictly necessary, and rolled her eyes.
"Well, I do have a very talented teacher," she smiled.
"Yeah." She nodded, leaning forward to kiss him lightly. "He's sexy too."
"Should I be jealous?"
She gave him one last quick kiss and stood.
"I'll wait for you by the bike."
He nodded and shifted so he could see Phil's name on the headstone.
"Looks like you had it right, Phil. That crazy bunch of misfits seems to be a good fit for me. It's almost like having a family again."
He sighed and ran his fingers across Phil's name.
"A crazy and dysfunctional family." He tilted his head and smiled. "But a family all the same. Just wish you were here to be part of it." He paused and stared at his friend's name. "Sorry I haven't been out since the anniversary, but it's still kinda hard." He sighed again and pushed to his feet. "I miss having you on the other side of my comm., Overwatch."
With that he patted the top of the tomb stone and walked away. He'd always thought it was strange when people talked to tombstones like the person could actually hear him. He still thought it was strange. He didn't do it because he thought Coulson could hear him somewhere in the universe. He talked to Phil because he'd talked to Phil for nine years and it wasn't just something he could stop doing. And for a just a minute, he could imagine that the man wasn't gone. Then he'd return to reality and sometimes it would be a little easier to accept that he was.
Clint watched with intense amusement as Steve and Natasha cooked dinner. They were making lasagna, something he'd taught Natasha how to make during his recovery from the LeRoux debacle. Currently, Steve was fending Tony off from the meat sauce and Natasha was stirring the cheese mixture while listening to Pepper talk animatedly.
Bruce's job was to cue up the movie for the night, Clint's choice, for once, instead of Tony's.
He'd gone with Batman Begins. Something about a hero with no superpowers just seemed appealing.
Thor was watching Bruce with rapt attention, determined to learn how Tony's home theater system worked.
Clint was just sitting, relaxing at the island counter, lounging on a barstool, and nursing a beer. He didn't drink often and when he did it wasn't much. Having your parents killed by a drunk driver tends to turn you off of alcohol. But on days like today, when he'd visited Phil and just wanted to relax, he would nurse one. He probably wouldn't even finish it.
"Alright, Legolas," Tony was suddenly at his side, "Time for your present, come with me."
"Present?" Clint arched an eyebrow.
"Yep, now come on."
Clint tossed a look at Natasha who jerked her head after Tony, clearly telling him to get his ass moving. So he did.
"It's still a prototype, but I think I'll have it ready to go for you in a month or so," Tony explained as they stood staring at what looked like a replica of the top half of what Clint thought of as his 'Avengers' uniform. Complete with the deep purple and black coloring and SHIELD logo on its chest.
"So you've taken up sewing?" Clint teased, moving closer to the uniform and reaching to touch the fabric.
"I thought I'd moonlight as your personal tailor from now on," Tony deadpanned. "No, smartass, feel the chest and abdomen area."
"It's different, not like what my old one's made out of."
"It's bullet proof."
Clint's eyebrows rose.
"It doesn't feel like Kevlar."
"It's not, I invented it."
"Does it work?" Clint asked, circling the stand the uniform was presented on.
Clint rounded the stand and arched an eyebrow with a grin.
"Almost? So if I get shot with this thing on, it'll almost stop the bullet?"
Tony glared dryly.
"That's why I said it was a prototype, Feather Head. I'm still in the testing process. I'll get it right and then I can cash in on the running bet about how many times you'll get shot in your lifetime."
Clint laughed, moving to stand with Tony and look at the creation again. They stood in silence for a moment.
"You know Tasha's got the corner on that bet. She knows about the bullet wounds that aren't in my file," Clint advised.
"You got shot before you had a file at SHIELD? You were just a kid when you were recruited."
Clint smirked and clapped a hand against Tony's chest.
"That's so disturbing." Tony shook his head.
"Might want to change your bet, Tin Can," Clint laughed, walking out. He didn't tell Tony that the only time he'd been shot before SHIELD was the night he'd met Phil. It was technically in his file, but only in the medical portion. And it was redacted.
He smirked as he heard Tony muttering about doing more research. Too easy.
Clint settled at the bar, as per Natasha's instruction, as she cleaned up the kitchen. He'd tried to help, but she'd threatened him with a wooden spoon. Tony had laughed at him until Clint started listing all the ways Natasha knew how to maim and/or kill someone with a wooden spoon. Tony had bid them goodnight fairly quickly after that, pulling Pepper off to their room.
Bruce had gone to bed nearly as soon as the movie ended, citing research he had to do early the next morning. Thor had left to video chat with Jane. Jarvis was setting it up for him on the computer in Thor's room. Thor didn't even have to touch the laptop. Steve had disappeared off somewhere with a promise to return shortly.
"Thank you for eating the lasagna," Natasha offered as she loaded the dishwasher. "I told Steve to go easy on the seasoning in the sauce."
"It was fine," Clint assured. "So how long have you known about this little plan of theirs?"
"They started planning it about three weeks ago." She shrugged. "Pepper had told me by the end of the first day."
"And you didn't tell me?" He wasn't upset, just surprised. It wasn't often they kept things from each other.
"I wanted it to be a surprise." She pushed the dishwasher closed and turned to look at him. "I took it as a personal challenge as it's nearly impossible to get anything past you."
"I would consider your mission accomplished. I had no idea." He smiled, sliding off his stool and moving to trap her against the dishwasher with his arms, hands on the counter on either side of her. "It's inspired me to a mission of my own."
"Oh yeah?" she smiled, sliding her hands up his back.
"It involves you," he explained seriously, "and me."
"I'm liking it already."
"And whoever's room is closer."
Natasha hummed in agreement, but put a hand on his chest to stop his progression towards her.
"I can promise you that you'll accomplish your mission, мой сокол, but there's someone that wants to talk to you first." (my hawk)
"Looks to me like there's no one else here," Clint countered, leaning forward again. She pushed him back.
"Steve is waiting awkwardly in the hallway. He wants to talk to you."
As if on cue, the super soldier peeked his head into the room.
"It'll just take a minute," he promised, his face an interesting shade of red as he took in their close proximity in combination with the conversation he'd overheard.
"I'll finish up here and meet you in my room," Natasha whispered, nudging him towards Steve.
Clint nodded and moved towards the Captain, who had retreated back into the hallway.
"What's up, Cap?"
"Not here," Steve insisted, leading the way down the hallway. Clint followed without complaint. Of all of the men that lived in this tower, Steve was the one that never did anything without a reason. He led Clint to the stairwell and then up to the roof.
"You're not gonna push me off the roof are you?" Clint joked.
"No," Steve smiled, moving to the edge and looking out over the city. "I see why you like it up here."
"What's going on, Cap?"
Steve sighed, looking suddenly nervous.
"I have something for you. Call it a gift for your ten year anniversary."
"Steve, you didn't have to."
"I didn't," Steve corrected immediately, "Well at least not really."
"I'm not following." Clint's brow furrowed.
"I'm not explaining this very well." Steve reached into his back pocket. "Here."
He held out a small stack of cards.
Clint's breath left him in a rush as he stared at the stack of authentic Captain America trading cards. He'd recognize that stack anywhere. He slowly reached out to take them from Steve.
"Fury gave these to me after Agent Coulson," he paused, "well just after. I didn't have the nerve to look at them until three months ago on the anniversary. He'd asked me a dozen times to sign them and I kept putting it off."
"He was obsessed." Clint huffed a laugh, feeling his chest tighten at the long since dried blood on the cards.
"Anyway, I was looking at them and I found this taped to the back of one." Steve produced a small note from his pocket and read it. "Phil, here's to five years. This is for everything I can and can't thank you for. Now you're one step closer to a full set. –Clint"
Clint felt moisture pool in his eyes and quickly blinked it away. He and Phil had been on a "mission" in Hawaii for Clint's 5 year mark. Natasha had come too, but had made herself fairly scarce, not entirely comfortable with them yet. Coulson had given him a kick ass knife and he'd given Phil a Captain America trading card. He could remember that trip like it was yesterday. It was a good memory.
"Anyway," Steve continued quietly, "I think he'd want you to have them."
"Why now?" Clint asked.
"Because giving them to you on the first anniversary of his death just didn't seem like something you were ready to handle."
Clint nodded. He'd spent that day sequestered on the roof with Natasha until he'd gotten the nerve to go to the cemetery. He'd spent hours just sitting at Phil's grave. Just remembering. If Steve had given him these that day, he'd have come apart.
"Thank you," Clint stated sincerely. "This means a lot. More than you know."
Steve squeezed his shoulder gently.
"I know better than anyone, Clint."
Clint smiled slightly, because it was true. Steve knew loss better than anyone else, maybe better than him. He got it. He had since the beginning. Steve left him alone then and went back inside. Clint spent a few minutes looking at the cards before he headed inside too.
As promised, Natasha was waiting in her room, cleaning one of her guns. She set it aside when he slipped into the room.
"What did he want?" she asked, frowning slightly at the expression on his face. He wordlessly held out the cards and sat down on the bed. Natasha went through them, understanding their significance. "Wow," was all she could say.
"Yeah," Clint sighed, kicking off his shoes and laying down. He rolled over and rested his head on her lap, wrapping an arm around her legs. "I miss him, Tasha."
She sighed and rested a hand in his hair.
She allowed him a moment of wallowing before she tickled the back of his neck lightly.
"Don't you have a mission to complete?" she teased, smiling when he immediately raised his head and grinned mischievously.
"I believe I do."
"Are there any parameters?" she asked as he raised himself up and shifted closer.
"Sounds like your kind of mission."
Two weeks and 3 days later- July 28, 2013
Clint tilted his head to the side, staring at the bullet ridden uniform across the lab.
"I think it needs a few more tweaks," he advised needlessly.
"No kidding, Feather head." Tony rolled his eyes and slid in his rolling chair from the table he'd been at with Clint to his computer station. "I'm getting closer though."
Clint, sitting backwards in his own rolling chair, rested his chin on the chair back and reached for one of Tony's testing guns. He absently disassembled it and reassembled it as Tony shifted to work in his holographic computer world.
They both perked up when the background music shifted tracks. They'd know that beginning beat anywhere.
"This ain't a song for the broken hearted."
"Jarvis turn it up," Tony demanded as he continued working.
"No silent prayer for the faith departed."
Clint found himself moving his head to the beat as he disassembled another one of the guns.
"I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd. You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud…"
Without looking at each other they both played air drums for the two hard beats before the chorus.
"It's my life! It's now or never! I ain't gonna live forever! I just wanna live while I'm alive…It's my life!..My heart is like an open highway! Like Frankie said, I did it my way! I just wanna live while I'm alive…It's my life!"
The song turned down suddenly, making both of them look up.
"Agent Barton, Agent Romanoff is looking for you," Jarvis announced suddenly.
Clint was already rising and putting the gun down.
"Where is she, Jarvis?"
"In your bedroom."
Clint nodded and headed towards the door.
"It's Hawkeye-Iron Man," Clint tossed over his shoulder as he moved out of the lab.
"Iron Man-Hawkeye!" Tony shouted after him before returning to his work.
"You were looking for me?" Clint asked as he came into his bedroom.
"I can't find my Makarovs," she complained as she pulled open his closet and scanned the weapon rack on the back wall, looking for her missing weapons.
"Did you check your room?" he asked as he moved to the footlocker at the end of his bed.
"I just came from there," she replied as she closed the closet and moved to his side as he pulled up the lid of the footlocker.
"Ah." Clint pulled out two twin Makarov pistols and held them out to her. "Your Makarovs."
"Thank you," she smiled, taking the guns and looking them over.
"Something wrong with your Berettas?" he asked curiously.
"No, just doing a run through of all my weapons to make sure everything is working."
Clint nodded. They both did a full run through of their weapons ever few months to make sure everything was in working order.
"Might as well join you," he shrugged, reaching for the black duffle in the footlocker. He kept his emergency weapons in it, the ones he would prefer if he had to leave in a hurry and didn't have time to gather any. She followed him over to his weapon rack in the closet and helped him pull them off their spots on the walls and push them into the bag. He pulled his quiver onto his back last and stowed his bow in its spot at the small of his back.
"Are my Desert Eagles in your room?" he asked, realizing they weren't in the bag.
"They're in my closet," she replied with a nod.
Clint nodded and followed her out of the room and into the hallway.
"Where were you?" she asked curiously as they moved through the halls and made their way to her room.
"In the lab."
Natasha smiled. Of all the other men in the tower, Tony was the one Clint was the most himself around. Even if he confided in Steve about more serious matters or rolled his eyes in mock annoyance at Bruce's near constant worry over his health or allowed Thor to give him bone bruising bear hug when no one else but Natasha was ever allowed that close. With Tony he was relaxed; he joked and kidded. He smiled like he used to smile when he joked and kidded with Phil. For that, Natasha would always be grateful to Tony.
They collected her weapons from her room as well as Clint's wayward Desert Eagles and made their way to the range.
It was Pepper that came looking for them three hours later. She came into the range and immediately covered her ears at the rapid gunshots that greeted her. The range was made to be soundproof on purpose, so someone could practice without the whole tower hearing it. Of course that meant you ran the risk of being caught by surprise if someone was firing when you came into the range.
Pepper quickly reached for a set of sound suppressing ear muffs and pulled them on. Natasha noticed her first and nudged Clint, who was firing in the lane next to her. They both cleared their guns and set them down.
"What's up Pepper?" Natasha asked as she pulled her black earplugs out of her ears.
"The natives are-" Pepper stopped when Natasha winced and motioned at her own ears. Pepper opened her mouth in an 'O' and pulled of the sound suppressing ear muffs. "Was I shouting?" she asked.
"Only a little." Clint grinned as he swung his ear buds around by their wire.
"Well anyway," Pepper continued in a more normal tone, "the natives are getting restless. Tony's threatening to start cooking on his own so…"
"I'm on it," Clint laughed.
"I'll get your gear," Natasha volunteered. Clint nodded in thanks and jogged out of the range.
"What were you two doing?" Pepper asked as she watched Natasha grab a black duffle and walk around the range collecting weapons from where they were spread out around the entire area.
"Every couple of months we do a full cleaning and testing of our weapons to make sure everything's still working right."
"Sounds like quality time." Pepper couldn't help but smile. Leave it to the two assassins to spend their free time together cleaning and firing weapons. It fit them so perfectly.
Natasha smiled, not disagreeing.
"We better get up there before the battle over what Clint's going to cook erupts," she advised, shouldering both her and Clint's weapon bags.
"I don't know why they bother," Pepper chuckled as she held the range door open for her. "We all know who really decides what the man ends up cooking."
Natasha smirked, and again didn't disagree.
"What would you like tonight, Pepper?"
Just over an hour later the entire team settled in various places in the large home theater each with a plate of spaghetti. Tony pulled up his holographic control panel for his digital movie library and scrolled through his unreasonably large collection.
He finally settled on, after several discarded suggestions, the movie Shooter. Clint immediately perked up at the mention of a movie about a sniper and Natasha agreed fairly quickly after that, with Steve only moments behind. Pepper didn't care as long as they just picked one. Thor was happy with anything that contained action and Bruce, Bruce didn't get his blood pressure up by arguing. Instead he chose just to comment calmly that as long as no one was shooting at him, he'd be happy.
As the final credits rolled, Thor sat forward with an awed expression.
"Noble Archer, is it true that you are able to fire that long range weapon with even greater skill than that man?"
"It's been said," Clint allowed with an arrogant smirk.
"There should be a movie about you," Pepper smiled, uncurling from her position on the couch next to Tony and yawning.
"That would be something," He laughed. "Who wants coffee?" Clint asked as he unwrapped his arm from around Natasha and pushed to his feet. He got a chorus of affirmative responses as he headed out of the theater and down the hall to the kitchen.
He was just starting Tony's fancy and expensive coffee machine when Natasha slid into the kitchen and moved to the fridge, retrieving the cream while Clint got the sugar.
"So," she smiled as she moved to stand with him, "two more days."
"Until what?" Clint teased, accepting the elbow to his stomach with a grin. "Kidding," he defended. "I know what's in two days," he promised.
"What's in two days?" Tony asked as he came into the kitchen with the rest of the group trailing behind.
"You couldn't wait ten minutes for it to be done and us to bring it to you?" Clint complained good naturedly, rolling his eyes heavenward.
"Don't change the subject, Big Bird," Tony scolded. "What's in two days?"
"None of your damn business," Clint shot back, the slight laughter in his tone taking all the heat out of the words. Natasha rolled her eyes and nudged him.
"Go ahead and tell them. You know he won't let it go."
"In two days, on the 31st, we celebrate seven years," Clint revealed with a sigh, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back against the counter.
"Seven years of what?" Steve asked curiously.
"Partnership?" Bruce wondered.
"No." Clint shook his head.
"Seven years since you two, you know?" Tony wiggled his eyebrow suggestively.
Steve blushed, Pepper hit him, and both Clint and Natasha rolled their eyes.
"No," they stated together.
"Seven years since the day we met in France," Natasha ended the guessing game.
"That's sweet." Pepper smiled.
"Not really," Clint huffed, "She shot me while I was trying to save her life."
"That's so," Bruce paused, trying to find the right word, "romantic?" he hedged but then frowned because that didn't seem right.
"I didn't know he was trying to save me at the time," Natasha defended.
The rest of the team stared at them.
"What, you're surprised?" Clint scoffed. "You think we had a magical 'eyes meet across the room and the whole world changes' moment? You do realize we're assassins? And we met because I was sent to kill her."
"But you said you were trying to save her life." Steve frowned.
"I was," Clint confirmed, smirking at the confusion on everyone's faces.
"It's a long story," Natasha stated in a tone that indicated it wasn't a story they were going to hear, effectively ending the discussion. She turned to start pulling coffee mugs out of a cabinet.
"I knew it!" Tony smiled. "Your file said that there was an 'incident' during Romanoff's recruitment. I was betting it was a gunshot wound, as that seems to be your tendency." He crossed his arms happily across his chest. "I'm totally going to win this bet."
Clint rolled his eyes and seriously contemplated asking Natasha to shoot him again just so Tony would lose.
End of Chapter One
Everybody's happy and getting along! If only it was going to last...this chapter and the next are to set up the rest of the story as it moves at a fairly quick pace after that. :) Not all the chapters are this long, sorry :/, but none of them are necessarily short either...
They also probably won't come this early again, except maybe on Friday, since we are leaving town early and I'm planning to post a chapter before we leave so you're only two days without an update.
Reviews, as always, make me happy!
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"I'm suggesting it might be easier all around if everything was in one room."
Natasha rolled over, forcing him to roll onto his back to get out of her way.
"Are you saying we should share a room?"
"Yeah." He rubbed a hand through his hair almost self consciously.
"As in 'move in together'."
"That's the idea."