Title: Wiping the Ledger Clean

Rating: Look at you, asking like that! Aren't you precious?

Summary: The rest of it doesn't matter, if they can't save each other.

Disclaimer: Did you see the Black Widow/Hawkeye makeout scene? You didn't? Well then I must not own anything.

Author's Note: I was done with these two. I swear. But oh no, my dorm had to have an Avengers movie night on our big screen projector, and the plot bunnies started mating again. Damn rodents.

It was like he was drowning, his movements, his very thoughts, sluggish and uncoordinated. Everything was tinged a bright blue, and the world was tilting. He had no ground to stand on, nothing to hold onto.


That voice. He knew that voice. He reached out for it, holding onto it, letting it pull him up and up and up and out…


He shook his head, clearing the last of Loki from his mind. Nat; his Nat. Tasha, his partner. She was there, her elbows on her knees, her face a mask.

"Clint. You're going to be all right."

He snorted, his voice sounding bitter to his own ears. He wondered how bad he sounded to her. "You know that? Is that what you know? I got… I gotta go in though. I gotta flush him out." He looked down at the restraints, trying to find a way out. He had to get to Loki, to kill that sonabitch…

"We don't have that long. It's going to take time."

Time. Time, time, time, Tasha, don't you know? Do you have any idea how little time you had left?

"I don't understand. Have you ever had someone take your brain and play? Pull you out and send something else in? Do you know what it's like to be unmade?"

He regretted those words the moment he'd said them. Of course she knew. That's what had made her what she was, what caused their paths to cross.

To her credit, Natasha forgave him the indiscretion. "You know that I do."

He frowned, trying to remember. It was blank between when he'd fought her and waking up in his moment. "Why am I back? How did you get him out?"

"Cognitive recalibration."

He stared at her.

Natasha sighed. "I hit you really hard in the head."

"Thanks." He grinned, winced. That was going to bruise later. "Tasha, how many agents?"

She cut him off immediately. "Don't. Don't do that to yourself, Clint. This is Loki. This is monsters and magic and nothing we were ever trained for." She sounded as if she were convincing herself just as much as him.

"Loki…" The word tasted like bile in his mouth. "He got away?"

"Yes." It was a statement of facts, the agent replacing the human. "I don't suppose you know where?"

"I didn't need to know. I didn't ask. He was gonna make his play soon though. Today."

After he made me hurt you. Hurt you in ways he knew I'd hate myself for, ways that would make you scream…

"We've got to stop him." She sounded determined – too determined.

Tasha, Tasha, my Tasha… do you have any idea what I was going to do to you?

"Yeah? Who's we?" He questioned. Natasha started undoing his straps.

"I don't know. Whoever's left." She wouldn't look him in the eye.

Do you know? Did he tell you? Mock you?

"Well, if I put an arrow in Loki's eye socket, I'd sleep better I suppose." He rubbed his wrists.

The lines around her mouth softened. "Now you sound like you."

He gazed at her piercingly. "But you don't. You're a spy, not a soldier. Now you want to wade into a war. Why? What did Loki do it you?"

If he hurt you, Nat, I swear to God…

"He didn't, I just…" She couldn't finish the sentence.

Is this love, Agent Romanoff?

He put a hand on her knee. "Natasha…"

She swallowed hard, still not looking at him.

What will you do if I vow to save him?

"I've been compromised. I got red in my ledger. I'd like to wipe it out."

I won't touch Barton. Not until I make him kill you. Slowly. Intimately. In every way he knows you fear. And then he'll wake just long enough to see his good work…

"This doesn't have anything to do with your ledger, Nat. Or mine." His hand tightened on her knee. "Did he get to you?"

and when he screams, I'll split his skull!

"He didn't even touch me, Clint."

This is my bargain, you mewling quim!

"He doesn't have to touch you to try and destroy you."

And when you come across Agent Romanoff, Barton…

He took her chin in his fingers, turning her head, forcing her to look at him. Natasha Romanoff was the Black Widow, the best spy in the world, and one of the best assassins. She could hide from anyone… except for him.

I want you to treat her to a special form of death. A rather… intimate one.

"Tasha…" He whispered.

She gazed back at him, her eyes open and raw, her lips trembling and silent.

And he knew. She'd known what she was walking into when she'd engaged him in combat. She knew the fate that awaited them if she lost. But she'd gone anyway, taken the chance and tried to save him, even if it meant her own life.

This dance they'd engaged in… it had gone on far too long.

He slid his hand from her chin to her cheek and kissed her.

It was like the floodgates had been opened and tears leaked out of her eyes, warm, salty tears that she hadn't cried in over ten years, the tears of really, truly losing something you loved and held precious. Not tears of espionage, not tears of entreaty or pleading, but tears of loss and joy and love. They clung to each other, his arms wrapped around her, keeping her in his lap, her fingers buried in his short dark hair.

"Tasha." He whispered in her ear. Nat was for playfulness, for inside jokes and for quips on the sparring mat, but Tasha was for secrets, for being the only two in the room, for surviving another mission. They'd been best friends for years, partners for longer than that. It was time to take the step they'd been yearning and dreading for so long.

"He told me how you were going to kill me." She panted into his ear. His hand slipped down to under her zipper as she worked on her wrist cuffs and belt. "And I knew, I knew then Clint, but it was too late because I'd lost you and I could never tell you that I felt the same and you were never going to know that I felt it too…"

"Felt what." He whispered, pressing his lips to her neck over and over again, letting her undo his belt. "Tell me. Don't hold out on me, Tasha. You gotta tell me." He had to hear her say it, if only once.

"Love." The word was bit into his mouth before their tongues tangled again, teeth clashing and mouths working as they kissed, trying to cool the fever skyrocketing in their veins. Her top was off now, and his pants. "I love you."

"Thank God." He said, his relieved laugh tinged with hysteria. He rolled them over, shucked off his top as fast as he could. "Loved you for so long, Nat, for so long, even before you'd let me call you by your first name…" He undid her bra, allowing himself the pleasure of tasting and fondling her skin, touching every piece of her he could possibly reach.

She lifted her hips, working her pants off. She could see the scars crisscrossing his body, proud that she knew how and when each one of them had been earned. "Wanted you from the beginning. First man I wanted for the sake of wanting, not because I was told to." She ran her hands over the expanse of his back, memorizing how his muscles played under the veneer of skin. "Not sure when I started loving you… just know when I realized it."

He lifted his head and grinned at her. "Budapest?"

She laughed. A laugh from Natasha Romanoff was a rare thing, and only he could get them out of her. "New Mexico."

"That recently?" He helped her toss her pants to the side.

There was nothing stopping the motion of skin on skin now, the slick slide of it as they moved against each other.

"You were gone." She admitted, her voice gasping and breathy as she reacted to what his mouth was doing to her. "It was different when I was gone, when I was in L.A…"

"First time they split us up." He remembered, sitting back on his knees to get a good look at her, spread out and wanton. "I hated every second of it."

"But when you left and I was the one stuck at headquarters for months, before they sent me to Russia again…" She tried to smile but it faltered. "I realized that I… I more than needed you."

"That's one way to put it." He mused, leaning back down to kiss her again. He'd dreamed of this, jacked off to thoughts of this, fantasized about it at boring meetings. Natasha was every bit as good of a kisser as he'd imagined.

It'd been years since she'd been touched like this, and never had it been for her own pleasure. She had nothing to compare it to – she only knew that it was good. She was crying and laughing all at the same time, pushing and pulling and holding on as tightly as she could, never wanting to leave this crummy little regulation bunk.

She couldn't hide it, nor did she want to, when he slid in and it hurt. She forced her body to stay relaxed, to remain calm, and was rewarded with soft kisses dropped onto every inch of her face and murmured words of endearment until she was ready. He wasn't a man of higher education, but Clint Barton was a man of frankness and straight shooting, and he told her exactly how he felt about her, about her body, about her mind, about what she did to him.

When he first started moving, after she gave him consent, he had to drop his head down as he groaned into her shoulder. The thought occurred to both of them that it would have hurt otherwise, that he wouldn't have waited, that he would have ripped something and caused her pain, but it wasn't that way. They'd stopped that; they'd saved each other and come out on top.

And what did the rest matter, in the end, if they couldn't save each other?

While there were some skills Clint was better at, and others that Natasha had better mastered, in this field Clint was clearly in control. She would never give someone else this power over her, the power to tear her down and see her soul, see her laid out and vulnerable, and then build her back up again. She would never let someone else inside of her heart and her body, to touch her and hold her like this. She followed his lead, eager to see where he would take her, what she could learn.

Her trust and love overwhelmed him.

"Come with me, Tasha." He whispered, working her carefully. "Come with me."

She didn't know which was more satisfying – the release as her orgasm hit, or the sound of Clint shouting her name.

He wanted to lay like this forever, tracing patterns into the planes of her taut stomach, feeling her chest rise and fall as she breathed. His Tasha, safe in his arms where no one, not even himself, could hurt her.

She had never felt so cherished.

"How's that ledger?" He whispered, biting softly at her skin. She shuddered, and he saved that little tidbit for later. So, Natasha liked the biting… he should've known.

"Mostly black." She admitted before going back to determinedly sucking a hickey into his neck just below his Adam's apple.

"Mostly?" He joked, pulling her a little closer.

"We still have to defeat Loki." She pointed out.

"And once we do…" He cleared his throat. "If there's no more red… we have a couple months' worth of vacation days saved up…"

She slid her hand around to the back of his neck, yanking him down for another deep kiss. She'd always preferred nonverbal communication.

"Good." He whispered against her mouth. "Perfect."

They washed up and restored the room to order, but Natasha was barely zipping up her boots when Rodgers walked in.

As they filed out of the room, Clint placed his hands on her hips, leaning in so that his mouth was right by her ear.

"Did you know that I love you?" He whispered.

Natasha smiled.

If they could save each other, then they could do anything.

I'm not romantic, per se, but I love the idea of love – in any form of expression – as a healing power, as a way of personal redemption and higher understanding. I think that, with these two, that aspect of love really shines, and I love exploring that with them.

I hope that you enjoyed this little oneshot! Be sure to leave a review; they feed the plot bunnies!

(And are you guys excited for Avengers 2!? We better get a BlackHawk kiss at the least or so help me…)