Later that night, Clint picked up his cell to call Natasha. "Hey Lady," he said with a grin when she picked up.
"Hey yourself," she replied, and he could hear the smile in her voice.
"So, I've been thinking…"
"Uh-oh," she teased.
He laughed. "No, seriously. I'd like to take you on a date."
"We did just go out. For pizza," she reminded him.
"I mean a real date. Like a fancy type place. We'll get dressed nice, and I'll pick you up and we'll spend a glorious evening together."
"Glorious, huh?" She said.
"What do you say, Nat? Will you go out with me?"
She pretended to think it over for a moment before responding, "I'd love to go out with you, Clint."
"Hold still," Kate ordered, as she knotted his tie and adjusted his collar.
He shifted his feet, looking down at his shoes.
"You are never going to be able to pull this off," she said with a teasing laugh. "Why don't you just take her some place normal? Like, I don't know, dinner and a movie?"
"There's going to be dinner involved," he said, as she smoothed down the lapels of his jacket.
"And it involves you wearing a suit? You need help."
He made a face. "Thanks for the vote of confidence."
She rolled her eyes. "I think you exude enough confidence in yourself for the two of us. And that's not a bad thing. Here, do you want to practice walking again?"
He nodded, holding out his arm to her and she grinned as she slipped her arm through his. "There you go. Just keep it real light and natural. Match her pace."
She gently patted his hand. "See? You'll be fine. I'm sure tonight's gonna be the night," she added, wiggling her eyebrows. "So, where are you taking her, anyway?"
"On second avenue? Holy crap! How the hell are you gonna afford—Oh, right." She whistled. "You know, as long as you don't fall all over your face, I think tonight really could be the night."
He grinned. "Gee, it's really great having you back, Katie. I'll try not to fall on my face."
He took a deep breath before knocking on her door, only to find that he had trouble exhaling when she appeared in front him. She was dressed in a short, deep purple cocktail dress that flared out at her knees, the strapless bodice hugging her curves in all the right places. Her hair was loosely pinned up, with wavy curls touching her creamy white shoulders, and he had to remind himself not to stare. "Geez, Lady. What are you doing to me?"
She smiled, gazing up at him through thick eyelashes. "I thought purple was your favorite color," she said, a little huskily.
His eyes followed her every movement as she stepped through the door. "It is now," he replied, holding out his arm to her. "You are absolutely stunning."
"Thanks. You, uh, you clean up pretty nice too," she said, slipping her arm through his and taking hold of his fingers in hers. "You rented a limo?" She asked disbelievingly, looking past him for the first time.
"I told you, tonight's special," he said, placing a hand at the small of her back as she crawled inside.
She smiled. "You really didn't have to do this, you know."
"I wanted to," he insisted, raising her hand, which had still been holding onto his, to his lips.
The lights were dim and soft, romantic music filled the atmosphere. Natasha couldn't stop looking around at their surroundings, for once not because she was instinctually at work, but because she was actually in awe of the artistic architecture, the flickering candles and strategically placed flowers and the replicas of famous romantic paintings on the walls.
"Clint, this is unbelievable," she said, a little breathless as they ate their dinner.
"I'm glad you like it," he replied with a genuine smile.
She continued to inspect what was going on around them, gazing at the many couples moving gracefully across the ballroom style dance floor to a live orchestra.
"Do you want to dance?" He asked, his heart suddenly pounding in his chest.
"Um… we don't have to… I mean, you don't…"
He stood slowly, reaching out his hand. "Come on."
Her face lit up as she placed her hand in his and he nervously led her to the center of the room. She placed a light hand on his right shoulder, and he hesitantly placed his on her waist. "Uh, you have to help me out here," he said quietly.
"You're thinking about it too much," she said with a smile, stepping closer to him as she wrapped both arms around him, resting her head lightly against his shoulder. "Just move however feels right and I'll follow your lead."
"Oh, this is much better," he said, relaxing his grip on her waist.
"See that? You're a fine dancer," she assured him, closing her eyes as they swayed in time to the music. "And this is all perfect."
"You're perfect," he told her.
"Do you want to come inside?" She asked with wide eyes when the limo pulled up to her apartment. She gestured towards the driver. "You can settle with him. I'll drive you home whenever you want."
He nodded, slipping some cash to the man when he opened the door for them. He took her hand, squeezing gently as she led him inside.
"This is all so amazing, I didn't want it to end just yet," she explained.
"Me neither," he assured her.
"It's gorgeous out tonight. Drinks on the terrace?" She offered, nodding her head toward the sliding glass door behind her bedroom.
"Red or white?" She asked.
He shook his head. "Doesn't matter. Whatever you prefer."
She grinned. "Don't go anywhere."
"Never," he promised.
She returned a second later with two glasses and a bottle of white wine, laughing as he tugged on his tie. "Okay, seriously, how on earth did you find out about that place?" She asked, leaning her arms on the railing.
"I may have had to ask Tony for advice," he admitted with a smile.
"What? I'm not used to having money."
"Well, you didn't have to spend it all there," she teased.
"Oh, yes I did."
"Why do you think that?"
"Well," he said, wrapping his arms around her waist. "You see, there's this pretty lady that I've kind of had a thing for, for most of my adult life," he said, his voice slightly husky.
"Yeah," he whispered.
She leaned in close to his embrace, resting her head against his chest.
"Your hair smells nice," he said, running his fingers through her loose curls.
"Mmm, everything about you smells nice," she murmured, nuzzling his neck.
He gently caressed her face as he lowered his hand, moving his fingers under her chin to gently tilt her head back. She closed her eyes in anticipation, her breath slightly heavy as he leaned in and closed his lips over hers.
After a moment, she moved one hand to grip his shoulder, the other to the back of his head, her fingers tangling in his hair. He pulled her flush against him, bending her over backward slightly as the kiss deepened.
"Clint…" she murmured against his lips.
"You okay?" He asked softly.
She nodded, reaching up to slide his jacket off his shoulders. He lowered his mouth to her neck, nibbling gently on the sensitive skin and she sighed softly. "That feels nice."
"Want it to feel better?" He asked, dipping his tongue into her pulse point.
"Mmm-hmmm," she answered, eyes still closed and he took that as a yes as he sucked softly on a particularly sensitive spot under her ear. She shivered in response and he moved his mouth lower and lower, planting wet kisses across her chest.
"Here, inside," she murmured, pushing him towards the door.
"Okay," he said, guiding her into the adjoining bedroom.
She slid the door closed and made sure it was locked before drawing the curtains and turning back to him. In one swift motion, she threw herself against him and he caught her easily, lifting her off the floor and holding her close to his body as she kissed him with her tongue. Her hands entangled in his hair again and he swiftly hauled her towards the bed, unzipping her dress before placing her down gently on the mattress.
She slid upwards to make room for him as he leaned over her and her loosened dress shifted. He took advantage, kissing the newly exposed skin above her breasts. She threw a leg over his hip, pinning him in place and he gently stroked her hair.
"Tasha," he murmured.
"Hmm?" she asked, opening her eyes to look at him.
"Can we talk about this for a second?"
"Alright," she said, slowly catching her breath. "What's the matter?"
He looked down at her, running his fingers over her cheekbone and smiling softly when she leaned into his touch. "What is this, with us?"
She frowned slightly. "What do you mean?"
"What are we doing? Are we like friends that just make out sometimes?"
"Um, I don't… I don't know. It's complicated, right?" She answered. "You know I care for you, Clint."
"I know, but Natasha, I…"
"Sssh…" she said, placing a finger over his lips. "You don't have to say it."
"But, what if I want to?" He whispered.
"Clint… it's never worked out between us in the past. I don't want to ruin this."
"Me neither, baby," he replied, his fingers tracing the inner curve of her arm. "Why hasn't it worked for us?"
She sighed. "I don't know. I guess because we didn't trust each other."
He nodded. "I trust you now. Do you trust me?"
"Yeah," she whispered, her lips shaking slightly.
"Okay… why else?"
"Um, we manipulated each other, and we didn't respect each other. It's different now," she added hastily.
He smiled a crooked smile. "My point exactly. We're different people now. We have a totally different relationship, based on mutual trust, and respect, and admiration, and… God, Tash. I am head over heels for you. That hasn't changed."
She looked up at him, pressing one hand against his chest. "Can I be honest with you about something?"
"Always," he answered.
"Do you remember, four months ago, when we…"
He grinned. "When you kissed me?"
She swatted him playfully. "You kissed me back!"
"And you stopped me," he said with a frown.
"Why do you think I stopped you?" She whispered.
"You said it was because I had a girlfriend… I didn't realize that you still had a boyfriend, too," he added.
She shook her head. "I stopped you because I… you… you gave me butterflies."
"What?" He asked, a slow smile starting to spread across his cheeks. "Are you serious?"
She nodded, running her fingers from his hair to his shoulders.
"And now?" He asked, kissing the corner of her mouth.
She sighed softly. "God, Clint."
"Wait a minute. You were with him, and you… you still felt something for me?"
She nodding silently, assessing him with wide eyes.
"Baby, do you have any idea how badly I just wanted to yank that zipper down and have you right there?"
"So do it now," she said in a low voice.
He moved his hand to the back of her head, slowly caressing the back of her neck. "You know, if you trusted me even half as much with your heart as you do with your body, this wouldn't be so hard."
She looked up at him, her eyes slowly filling with tears as she traced the contour of his lips with her thumb. "I do trust you, Clint. You know that. It's just…"
"What? What is it, Tash? Why are you so afraid of your feelings for me?"
"I don't know," she whispered.
He leaned down to kiss her firmly and she pulled his face as close to hers as possible to devour his kiss. "It'll never be over between us, Natasha."
"So, what now? This is it? We're endgame?"
He smiled. "You tell me. Do you want to go on pretending that there's nothing going on here? That we're over each other? Or do you want to be my girl again? After all these years, I'm still fighting for us, Tash. Fight with me."
She slid her hand down his face and across his chest, pausing to rest it over his heart. "You drive me so completely insane most of the time, Clint Barton. The way you just… jump into everything so goddamned whole-heartedly. But I'm head over heels for you too."
He grinned, placing soft kisses over her knuckles. "What do you want, baby?"
"You. I-I just want you," she said, pulling him down on top of her to hug him tightly. "I-I don't know how it happened, but I've fallen for you all over again."
He buried his face in her shoulder. "You have me. You've always had me, Tasha."
She took a deep breath before tilting his chin up to look at her. "I want to be your girl, Clint."
He kissed her again, more deeply than the last time, sliding his tongue across her lips and she parted them eagerly. "I still love you, Tasha."
"Oh, Clint. I…"
"I know," he whispered in her ear, sucking her lobe into his mouth and she shivered.
She slowly began to undo the buttons on his dress shirt, sliding her fingers across his skin. He moved his hand down under the skirt of her dress, gently rubbing the insides of her thighs and she parted her legs as they kissed. His mouth lowered back down to her chest, nipping lightly at her skin and using his other hand to tug the loosened dress lower until her breasts were bared to him.
She pulled him closer, wanting to feel his skin pressed up against hers as she shimmied out of the garment. All of a sudden, he felt like he didn't have enough hands to touch her everywhere as he moved them all over her body, and she mirrored his actions, groping almost desperately at his arms, his chest, his sides, his stomach.
He teased at the waistband of her panties, tracing the seam with his thumb.
"Clint," she moaned.
"This okay?" He asked, his mouth pressed hotly against her neck.
"God, yes," she breathed.
He slid the flimsy material down before reaching between her legs. "I think you're even wetter than the last time I fingered you," he said with a groan.
She reached a hand down to unzip his pants. "Want you," she moaned, slipping both hands into his boxers to feel how hard he was.
He bit down on her shoulder when she squeezed him, then started to move her hand up and down his length. "What do you want me to do?" He asked, his thumb rubbing her clit. "This?"
"Make love to me," she whispered.
For a second, he thought he was going to come just from the way she said those words, but all at once, the air grew hotter and his clothes felt tighter and he could feel her hands clumsily reaching to undress him. They fought together to remove his shirt, pants and underwear, her stockings and her panties and then he was breathing heavily against her cheek, her mouth hot and wet on his throat.
He tempted her thighs apart with his knee, his hand reaching down to grip himself as he placed himself at her entrance. She grinded against him, moaning softly in anticipation.
He leaned down to kiss her mouth as he slid into her, and she gasped against his lips.
"Okay?" He asked, his eyes searching her face.
She thrust her hips in response and he thrust back, sliding in deeper.
"Ohhhhh," she moaned.
"Fuck, you feel so good," he breathed as he set a slow rhythm.
She placed her mouth against his neck, sucking softly in between moans as he thrusted into her.
"Tasha," he gasped as she dragged her fingernails down his back, clutching him tightly to her.
"More," she said breathlessly, eyes closed, her mouth slightly open.
He rolled his hips and she pushed up against him, biting her lip, as he placed a hand beneath her to lift her hips up. "Clint!" she cried out at the deeper angle. "Holy shit, right there!"
"Oh, God," he moaned as her muscles squeezed him involuntarily.
"Ungh, that feels so good," she breathed as he started to thrust harder. "Don't stop."
He quickened the pace, bracing a hand against the headboard.
"Yes, yes," she coaxed, meeting him thrust for thrust. She cried out as she came suddenly and he groaned loudly with one final thrust when he felt her muscles clench around him.
"Oh, baby," he moaned. "Was it ever this good?"
"Mmmm…" she replied, catching her breath.
"Come here," he said, wrapping an arm around her as he leaned back against the mattress.
She snuggled into his chest with a contented sigh.
"Are you getting sleepy?" He asked, gently stroking her hair.
"A little," she said. "I don't think I'm driving you home tonight."
"That's fine," he replied, placing a kiss on her forehead as he swept all her hair over one shoulder. "Should I move to the couch soon?"
"No," she whispered, tracing idle patterns on his arm with her fingers.
"Want me to wait until you fall asleep?"
"No." She tilted her head up to place a line of soft kisses over his jaw. "I want you to sleep next to me tonight."
"Are you sure?" He asked. "We don't have to."
"Don't argue with me," she said. "I want to be close to you. Stay here."
"In your bed? I think I'm ready to go again," he said.
She grinned. "I thought you were tired."
"Yeah, well. I guess not," he said, rubbing against her thigh.
"Hmmm, we should probably take care of that," she replied, leaning over him.
He kissed her eagerly, his fingers tangling in her hair as her hands started to wander.
"Just one more thing we have to clear up first," she said, pulling away enough to look at him.
"What is it?," he asked with a slight frown.
"How often does Kate Bishop crawl through your bedroom window?"