Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.

Here's my next story! As stated in the summary, this takes place before the Avengers movie, while Clint and Natasha are working for SHIELD. They are not in a romantic relationship yet but you'll see in this story how that relationship evolves after the events of this mission.


Madrid, Spain, October 2008, 23:16pm

Clint was perched on the two-storey rooftop, his quiver resting against his back and his bow gripped in his right hand. He inhaled the crisp night air and scanned his eyes around the area, searching for his partner's presence.

"Widow, what's your location?" he spoke into the comm fitted in his ear.

"Coming up west towards you..be there in a minute," she replied, slightly breathless. She had just taken out two guards surrounding their target's office building but had barely broken a sweat.

Clint focused on the figure visible in the window of the building opposite him. Their target, Antonio Marquez, a notorious arms trafficker and gang leader, was seated in his office, his face illuminated by his laptop. His stern eyes were fixed on numerous files and papers strewn across his desk. Clint spied a tall man guarding the office door in the adjacent room, his hands brushing over a gun in its holster, ready for any impromptu attack.

"I have eyes on Marquez," Clint informed the Black Widow.

"Right...on my way," she responded, the comm crackling off.

Clint rubbed the nape of his neck absently and flitted his eyes to the crescent moon lighting up the night sky. The city looked beautiful submerged in darkness, the lights glinting invitingly in the distance. His stomach rumbled, breaking the weighty silence and he made a mental note to grab some food with Natasha after they wrapped up the mission.

He stiffened suddenly when movement from behind him caught his keen eyes unexpectedly. He sensed a shadow inching towards him.

Without hesitation, Clint swivelled his body to the side, avoiding the incoming blade by inches. He moved and nocked an arrow with ferocious speed but was never granted the second to release as the approaching attacker advanced speedily. The attacker dashed at Clint, knocking him to the ground. The archer's bow spun out of his grip, the arrow discarded on the cold rooftop ground. His quiver jabbed into the flesh at the small of his back as the man continued to wield the knife at Clint's face, slashing and slicing into thin air.

Natasha heard the bustling commotion through her earpiece. "Hawkeye?" she barked, ears alert and eager to hear his voice.

Clint struggled against his attacker's weight as he writhed underneath him. He managed to strike the man across the face with a heavy left hand jab, giving him the opening he needed. He scrambled to his feet and shifted to settle into a stance, arms in front, ready for another bout. The man swung again, knife still lodged in a death grip. He was inching forward each time he swung, causing Clint to step back towards the edge of the roof.

Clint hesitated slightly, his foot trying fruitlessly to find smooth ground underneath him. The man advanced all of a sudden and Clint, in order to avoid a nasty stab wound, instinctively moved another step back. His foot met air and all of a sudden he was weightless.

He sailed over the edge, arms flailing, trying to seek purchase in anything to try and stop his descent. He tumbled mercilessly to the ground, the almighty belt knocking the wind out of him. He landed awkwardly on his outstretched arms, his left shoulder taking the brunt of the fall, managing to cushion his vulnerable torso.

"Hawkeye?" Natasha roared into the comm again, desperate for a response from her partner.

She was rushing towards the building she knew Clint had been on, ready to unleash an unholy attack on whoever was preoccupying Clint so much that he wouldn't respond to her calls. She reached the rooftop, having dashed up the stairs, and spotted her partner just as he was pushed off the edge of the roof. She ran furiously at Clint's pursuer and brandished her glock in a fluid motion. Two gunshots later, the man dropped clumsily, bullet holes in his chest and forehead.

She ran towards the edge of the roof and looked down, eyes searching for Clint in the darkness. "Clint?" she bellowed, her eyes spying his unmoving form sprawled on the ground of the alleyway below. "No.." she breathed out, the sight causing her heart to almost burst out of her chest.

She ran towards the rooftop exit and scrambled down the stairs, bounding closer to the door. She would have taken the whole staircase if she could. Wild thoughts and flashes of memories invaded her mind. It was not going to end like this. She couldn't lose him, not after everything they had been through.

She exited the building with a bustle and ran toward Clint's position. She blew out a relieved breath when she saw him moving.

He was conscious and sitting on the cobblestone ground, his back flat against the brick wall. She scanned her eyes over his closed up figure, knees drawn up to his chest, his left arm hugged tightly against his body. He was panting like a winded animal, sucking in and blowing out sharp and erratic breaths.

She swallowed thickly, taking note of his ragged breathing. His eyes were scrunched closed, his face contorted in pain.


Natasha's voice pervaded his panicked thoughts and he drew his eyes to her approaching figure. The pain in his shoulder and chest was so overwhelming he could barely move. He willed his erratic breaths to dampen the agony.

"Na-Nat?" he let out a ragged breath, clenching his teeth against the wave of pain. Natasha stepped closer to him, unsure of where to put her hands.

"N-" he tried again, worried when she failed to answer him. He was finding it increasingly difficult to talk.

She kneeled in front of him, allowing him to see her face. "Hey, I'm here," she soothed, her eyes encapsulating his wild ones.

"My sh-shoulder..I-I think it's out.." he gasped, pain interjecting every word that he spoke.

Natasha drew her eyes to the disfigurement visible underneath Clint's black jacket. She hovered her hands over the area, hesitant to touch it. "Okay..okay..we'll sort it out".

She flickered her eyes around to scan their surroundings, searching for any surprise attack to befall them. No obvious movement caught her eye, indicating that they were no longer being pursued, for now. "You want me to call it in?" she offered, reaching for the phone on her belt.

"No..no," he replied, shaking his head. "Try," he began, letting out another breath, "try and pop it back in."

"Clint.." she started, expression unsure.

"C'mon..you've done it before."

Her mind floated back to their mission in Lisbon when she managed to pop the same dislocated limb back while they were still in the field. "I know that but you weren't in this much pain, Clint...you can barely form words right now."

"Nah..it's all right..just let me get to my feet," he responded, waving away her concern.

He tucked the injured limb tightly against his chest and held out his other hand to latch onto hers. She accepted reluctantly and pulled him up from the ground, a muffled gasp escaping his lips as she did so.

"Take off your jacket," Natasha instructed, motioning to the black material. She aided him while he shifted his right arm out of its sleeve and she pulled as he allowed the sleeve of his left arm to slip off easily. The black t-shirt he was wearing became visible as he manoeuvred out of the jacket.

He moved the injured limb outwards so that she could get a hold of it. "Just try," he prompted, eyeing her with an encouraging look.

Natasha huffed in response and gripped his injured shoulder and arm with both hands. She settled her position, feet flat against the ground. She inwardly prepared herself for the attempted relocation. "Ready?" she spoke up, her voice alerting Clint's clouded senses.

Clint readied himself, moving his neck slightly from side to side, in an attempt to relax his muscles as much as his body would allow. He knew that the shoulder would never ease back in if he was tense. He blew out a slow breath in preparation.

"Do it."

Natasha wrenched the limb upwards in a fluid motion, attempting to slide it back in as painlessly as she could. An inarticulate grunt escaped Clint's lips and his breathing quickened in response to the splitting pain.

"Just a little more," Natasha added quickly, eyeing Clint's pained expression.

Clint worked hard to suppress his gag reflex, his stomach tinged with nausea.

She maintained her grip on the limb and tried her best to ease it in and alleviate his pain but the damn thing wouldn't budge. "Clint, I can't...it won't work...you're too tense!"

Clint muffled a pained response. Sweat coated his visible flesh, his face and neck drowning in a wet layer.

Natasha released his arm and gently lowered it to rest against his side. "I'm gonna call it in...there's no way you can continue," she muttered as she scanned her eyes over the archer's form again, the shoulder joint still slightly bent at an angle.

"Wait, wait.." he interrupted, blowing out another breath. He knew he couldn't continue with the mission but that didn't mean he couldn't keep watch while she did. "I'll keep an eye out...give me your glock...you go and get the son of a bitch..and take him down," he ground out between pain filled breaths.

Natasha eyed him doubtfully but she knew that they had to complete the mission and eliminate their target. If they failed, it would be their heads on Fury's guillotine the next morning.

"I won't move, I promise..it's just a dislocation. I've had plenty of them before, Nat," he responded, waving away her look of concern. "You can call in for backup when we get this done...I just need a few pain meds and I'll be as right as rain," he added with a crooked smile. "Go."

Natasha nodded reluctantly and handed one of her guns over to Clint. She turned her back and scurried towards the building. The sooner she took out the target, the sooner Clint would be in SHIELD medical, alleviated from his pain.

Clint stayed where he was, keeping his eyes peeled for any movement around Natasha. He watched his partner move stealthily towards the door of the building, her weapon at the ready.

Pain radiated through his shoulder and down his back and chest, agony coming in sharp bursts. He was reluctant to admit it but the injury didn't feel like a common dislocation, his fears only reinforced by Natasha's unsuccessful attempts to relocate the limb. He just hoped that the medics would be able to fix it without complication once they returned to base. He needed both arms working to do his job, to fire his bow. He refused to think about an alternative.

Natasha entered the building, shifting silently by the windows, keeping herself concealed in the shadows. Clint moved down the alleyway so he had a visual on the Black Widow, ensuring she was safe as she went in for the kill.

She moved through the building, approaching their mark's office. She spotted the burly bodyguard guarding the door and pounced on him, wrapping her thighs around him, taking him out swiftly with a sharp twist of his neck.

Moments passed and Clint heard her voice through his earpiece.

"I have a visual on Marquez...approaching target."

"You're good to go, Widow." Seconds later, Clint heard the two resounding gun shots and he held his breath for a moment.

"Target eliminated," Natasha's voice piped up. "On my way out."

"All right, call it in, Widow...Let's get out of here."

End of Chapter 1

I'm hoping that got the juices going for now... :)

Update soon!