Disclaimer: I don't own Avengers. Sorry, I can't think of anything witty today. Nor is the picture mine, it belongs to someone amazing going under the name of Lettie.

Thanks For Picking Up

The rain has already soaked Clint to the bone and he is getting ever so slightly bored watching some blond man with hair that is far too long fight every single security guard that SHIELD brought to New Mexico, then sit and look dejected as he stares at a hammer when Clint's phone rings. He is forced to ignore it as the person calls once, twice, three times. By the fourth time his phone rings, Clint has been told to stand down and he answers the phone. When he looks at the number he recognizes it as the one that has been calling him at least once every day. Worried that something has gone wrong, Clint answers with an urgent, "Nat, sorry for not answering. You okay?"

"Stark is going to be the death of me!" is Natasha's furious reply.

"That bad?" Clint asks as he leans on his elbows.

"Worse than that bad. The man has no self-control. None whatsoever. He flirts with everyone, drinks until there is nothing left, then orders more, he misuses the suit, and is just generally…" the noise of frustration that Natasha makes and the sound of her head hitting something gives Clint a pretty good idea of just how much grief Stark is really giving her.

"I mean…It's like he doesn't realize that there are billions of other people on this planet that don't have lives of luxury. He just wastes everything and… Clint?"

"I'm still listening, Nat."


"I miss you."

Clint smiles. Leave it to Natasha to end a rant about an obnoxious billionaire like that, he thinks. " I miss you too. But you'll be back soon and we'll, I don't know, go out for Russian food or something. Okay?"

"Some borscht sounds amazing. Maybe we can finally get Fury to give us those two weeks of vacation time he keeps promising us and I can show you real Russian food. Because, honestly Clint, the stuff you've had is nothing like the real food there," Clint can practically hear Natasha's smile through the phone and it brings a grin to his face automatically. He can picture her, sitting on some desk in a dress that she would never wear unless she had to, twisting a strand of red hair around her finger.

"Clint, are you still there?"

"Yeah. So what parts of Russia are we going to after you get back here?" Clint has noticed that Natasha is normally at her happiest when she is talking about her home. It consistently brings a smile to her face and a brightness to her eyes that makes his heart skip a beat.

"We'll start with the basic tourist places. Moscow, St. Petersburg, all the places that you hear about. That's where you're most likely to find people who speak English when you get lost," it takes Clint a moment to catch Natasha's jibe at his lack of fluency in other languages.

"Hey! I'm getting better. I can understand a bit of Russian."

"Really? Как тебя зовут?"

"Um…Да?" Clint doesn't really mean his answer to sound like a question, but Russian isn't the easiest language to learn, even when you have a teacher who actually wants you to understand the language, which Clint is pretty certain Natasha does not.

Natasha laughs for a good two minutes before she can talk again. "You can't answer 'Yes' to 'What is your name', Clint."

"That's what you said? I thought… never mind, you'll tease me whether I tell you or not."

"What if I promise not to tease you? Then will you tell me?"


"Please, Clint."

"Only if you are here, standing right next to me within the next 72 hours."

"Got it. I'll book my plane right now."

Clint can't help but smile at his partner's determination to get him to tell her about his misunderstanding, "What if Stark still needs to you babysit him?"

"Family emergency. My grandmother is dying of cancer, didn't I tell you?"

"Glad to know that I count as you grandmother."

"Anything for you, Barton."

"Right back at you, Romanoff," Clint can hear Coulson shouting for him to come inside from his perch and he knows that he can't talk much longer. While Coulson would understand Clint disobeying orders to talk to Natasha (it certainly wouldn't be the first time), Clint knows that the other SHIELD agents would see it as favoritism, so he regretfully informs Natasha that he has to end the call. As Clint is moving to push the 'End' button, he hears Natasha urgently say, "Barton, wait!"

"What, Nat?"

"Thanks for picking up. I needed you tonight. Thanks for always being there. Just… I don't know…thanks, Clint."

If Clint hadn't known better, he would have thought that he heard the beginnings of tears in her voice. "Any day, Nat. That's what we do: we're here for each other. I'll always pick up when you call. Okay? You don't ever have to doubt that."

"Thanks. I'll see you in 71 hours, 58 minutes."

"Counting down each second. Don't you dare be late."

"Wouldn't dream of it, Barton."

"Sweet dreams, Nat. Have fun with Stark."

All Clint hears as he hangs up is laughter.

Natasha is sitting on one of Stark's desks when the phone disconnects. She's not quite sure what to do. Cry? Laugh? Call Clint back and just listen to him talk for the rest of the night? Because it's nights like these when Natasha wishes that she could go back to being the woman who didn't need anyone. It's also nights like these that Natasha accepts that she would sooner die than have Clint leave her life. As Natasha goes to get ready for bed, she brushes off the little voice in her mind that whispers that maybe she loves Clint. The Black Widow doesn't love anyone.

But that doesn't keep her from calling Clint back four minutes later.

Author's Note: I was insanely inspired when I saw the drawing that is used for this story. Thanks for reading and giving me some of your time and please review; it would really make my day.

Be superb,

-When In Doubt, Smile