So, this is the story I've been talking about for a while for those of you that were interested in it. This is just the prologue so it's kind of setting up Clint and Natasha pre-Clint's disappearance. I hope you guys like this because I'm really excited about this story haha. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Clint, Natasha, or any of the Avengers. They belong to Marvel. Also, the song lyrics below do not belong to me either. They belong to The Calling.

So lately, I've been wondering,

Who will be there to take my place.

When I'm gone, you'll need love,

To light the shadows on your face.

If a great wave should fall,

It would fall upon us all.

And between the sand and stone,

Could you make it on your own?

The first thing that Clint Barton thought of when he woke up was that he could really go for a blueberry muffin right about now. Well, that and he had to depart for a mission in less than four hours.

Clint didn't like solo missions unless it was just surveillance. Even then it was possible the mission would never go as planned. But this upcoming mission was surveillance and elimination. It would be pretty basic and Clint hoped he would be back within the week because…

From behind him, Clint felt the sheets shift and heard the bed creak as his bedmate turned towards him. With a ridiculous smile on his face, Clint turned onto his side to face the one person that mattered to him.

With a faint smile playing on her full lips, Natasha Romanoff moved closer to her partner and snuggled into his bare chest.

Clint and Natasha had traveled a long road to get to where they were today. After he made a different call in Manila and chose to bring Natasha into SHIELD, the two were partnered together. Initially, Natasha was cold and distant from Clint. She barely coordinated with him for missions, which typically led them to be sloppy in the field. After a mission in Cape Town nearly claimed Natasha's life, the pair began to reevaluate their tactics.

From that point on, they trained together every chance they got. When they weren't on a mission or being debriefed by Fury, they spent hours on end together in the gym. They spent so much time together that they became so attuned to one another that they could practically sense the other from across a packed ballroom.

It wasn't until Budapest when they'd become a little more than partners. After a firefight in the middle of the streets, the assassins returned to their SHIELD safe house to clean their wounds. Clint had been a little too hopped up on pain meds because of a gash on his leg Natasha had stitched up, but that didn't mean what followed meant anything less than what it did.

From that point on, Clint and Natasha weren't quite sure what they were to one another, but one thing was for sure. Their relationship had changed. They were still partners. They could still be friends, but they didn't like using the terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." It seemed too romantic. Basically, they were a couple, but no one ever called them that to their faces unless they wanted to end up in SHIELD's medical wing.

Even after all that they'd been through, they were still in it together. They had an apartment together at Avengers Tower. Their partnership hadn't fizzled in the slightest. In fact, it seemed that their relationship had made it stronger.

The red-headed assassin nuzzled her hawk's neck and the archer smiled to himself before pressing a kiss to his partner's hair. Even after the Battle of New York, Clint and Natasha went on solo missions. They despised the absences with a passion – especially since neither one of them knew how the other was until they returned – but they had to do it. Otherwise, SHIELD would kick them to the curb.

"Do you really have to go on this mission?" Natasha asked as she buried her face in Clint's neck.

Snaking an arm around her back, Clint chuckled. "Yes, I really have to," he said. "But I'll be back in no time. It's just surveillance and elimination."

"Can't they get someone else to do it?" the female assassin whined.

"Probably," Clint said with a shrug. "But no one else is as good a shot as I am."

"Agreed," Natasha grumbled.

The assassins stayed in bed for a couple more minutes until Clint's alarm went off. He turned the alarm off and, much to Natasha's reluctance, climbed out of bed to start getting ready. Almost a minute later, Natasha climbed out of bed as well.

They got ready in silence. Clint pulled on his SHIELD uniform while Natasha slipped into a pair of gym shorts and a ratty, old t-shirt that she wore when she went to the gym. Clint quickly glanced over his shoulder to find Natasha padding into the bathroom to pull her hair up into a ponytail. Quickly, he reached into his sock drawer and pulled out a small item before shoving it into the pocket of his SHIELD uniform.

"Okay, are you ready to head to base?"

Clint, startled that Natasha had returned to the room, whipped around to face her. "Umm, yeah, yeah," he answered nervously.

Natasha eyed him suspiciously before pulling on her sneakers and tying them quickly and efficiently. Without a word to his partner, Clint grabbed his duffle bag and met her at the door to their bedroom. Silently, they traveled down the hall and into the elevator for the waiting car downstairs to take them to base.

Once they were loaded into the car, Clint and Natasha didn't say a word to one another. Even when they reached the SHIELD base and were escorted inside, they didn't say anything. Clint had been shepherded into a room to be briefed on his mission while Natasha headed to the gym to start her workout. Clint would come find her when he was finished. She knew he wasn't stupid enough to leave for his mission and not say goodbye.

Natasha was about 30 minutes into her workout when Clint strolled into the gym. She immediately stopped punching the punching bag and headed over to Clint. Fortunately, the gym was deserted. Then again, Natasha figured it was because she was here. No one really came to the gym when she was in it.

"All done?" she asked.

"Mhmmm," Clint hummed. "I know you're in the middle of your workout but do you maybe want to walk to the aircraft hangar with me?"

"I'd love to," the red-head said with a grin only reserved for Clint.

Never one for public displays of affection, they walked out of the gym side-by-side. They wove through the halls of SHIELD as they made their way to the aircraft hangar.

They strolled into the hangar side-by-side and stopped just before the Quinjet that was fueled up and ready to go for Clint's mission. They turned to one another, not saying a word. They had a strange habit of communicating in silence, but now wasn't the time for that.

"So, be careful, okay? I don't want you to come back with a gunshot to the gut," Natasha said.

"That was one time, Nat. And it wasn't my fault," Clint retorted.

"It's not that it's your fault. You just have a strange habit of getting shot," Natasha shot back.

Clint chuckled. "No promises, but I'll do my best."

"You better," the red-headed assassin said with a smirk.

At that moment, one of the hangar's personnel shouted for Clint, telling him that it was time to depart for his mission. Clint shouted back at the man and told him he'd be there in a second.

"Clint, you've got to go," Natasha ordered.

"I know. I know," he sighed. "But can you make sure you're here when I get back?"

The female assassin shook her head. "There are no guarantees. I could get sent on a mission too, you know."

"Just…try, okay?" he asked, or more like pleaded.

"I'll see what I can do," she said.

"Good," Clint said simply.

"Any particular reason why?" Natasha inquired.

"I just really want to see you when I get back," Clint lied. There was a reason, but he wasn't going to tell her and spoil it.

"Mhmmm, okay Hawk," Natasha said sarcastically.

"Agent Barton," one of aircraft personnel shouted over the roar of the Quinjet's engine. "We're on a tight schedule. It's time to leave."

"Got it!" Clint growled and then turned back to Natasha. "I'll see you soon."

"Be careful, my Hawk," the red-head purred.

Forgoing their vow against public displays of affection, Clint pulled his red-headed Russian to his chest and passionately pressed his lips to hers. The wind from the jet whipped around the two assassins, causing Natasha to press closer to Clint's chest.

"You have to go," she whined against his lips.

"Don't want to," Clint mumbled against her lips.

"Go, my Hawk," she said with a smile as she pulled away from him. "I'll be waiting for you, right here, when you get back."

Clint grinned and then pressed another quick kiss to her lips before jogging towards the Quinjet. All of his weapons – his bow and quiver full of arrows, along with several guns and knives – were already loaded into the jet. All they needed was him.

He jogged up the ramp and quickly plopped into the nearest seat. He struggled to buckle himself in as the back door closed and the jet started to hurtle down the runway. Fortunately, the buckle snapped into place and Clint breathed a sigh of relief. Seconds later, the jet lifted into the air and Clint felt his stomach drop at the weightlessness.

They'd finally reached their appropriate altitude when Clint unbuckled his seatbelt and moved to a more convenient and comfortable seat. As he sat down, he noticed a small item protruding from underneath the fabric of his uniform pants. He'd completely forgotten he'd put it there but he was happy that he remembered.

Reaching into his pants pocket, he pulled out the black velvet box and popped it open. Nestled inside among the satin fabric was a simple diamond engagement ring. Clint smiled to himself as he plucked the ring from its perch and examined it. Natasha wasn't a jewelry person. Hell, she wasn't the marrying type, but Clint figured it was worth a shot. He loved his crazy Russian assassin partner. He wanted to make it official.

Clint smirked to himself and then tucked the ring in the bulletproof vest of his SHIELD uniform – right above his heart – where it would stay until he returned to propose to the woman of his dreams.

I hope I've caught your interest! Please leave me a lovely review to let me know what you think and whether I should continue!