It was midnight, after Starks party and my meeting with the Director, when I walked through the helicarrier back to my room, I knew Clint would be pissed off with me. I knew that he was at the de-briefing with Fury in the vents and I knew that he would be upset that the building basically collapsed on top of me.
I enter my security password and entered my room preparing to be greeted by a blast of shouting, swearing and screaming for being so reckless. I had not been back in my apartment for weeks, because of the Stark operation. I had to stay in a hotel unless I was tracked by Stark or an enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, Fury wanted a private de-brief with me and he needed the file so he sent me a message to come and see him after the party. Bottles of Vodka and other alcohol were distributed among the tables. However, I was surprised to find that Clint was on my bed fast asleep curled up in a little ball.
I'm sorry, I really know it is not in your nature Widow, but that is adorably sweet. Has he stayed here all night? I thought to myself carelessly as I walked over to the bed. I was tired and dazed from the stressful day of nearly being crushed to death by a billionaire's house.
Clint must have felt my presence, because he slowly began to open his eyes and look at me with a smile on his face. I hated it when he smiled, because he looked so beautiful. I sat down next to him on the bed and he put a hand on my cheek. I shivered slightly, because his hand was so warm against my cold skin. Even though I knew we shouldn't be doing this it felt so perfect and I was to tired to think.
He surprised me when he whispered "Hey, are you okay?" with a concerned look on his face, instead of shouting at me. "I heard about what happened."
"Clint, I know you were in the air vents again and yes I am fine just a bit tired." I noticed that he had red eyes and marks around them from where he had been evidentially rubbing them. "Clint what's wrong?"
"Nothing...it's just I missed you." he said so casually I think that he didn't even realise that he said it. Slowly, I brought my hand up to his cheek mimicking his actions. I hadn't seen him for two months now since Fury assigned me this mission.
"Well I am here now and I am safe." I said. I got up to go and sleep on the coach, because Clint didn't look like he was moving even though I was the one who had had a truly horrible night.
As I turned around to walk to towards the sofa, his right wrist shot up and grabbed my wrist, delicately, but not too loosely so that my hand could just drop back to my side.
"Stay with me" he said and I thought that it was just the Clint that needs more sleep talking and not actually him. I looked into his eyes and saw that, because I had not been with him, he had taken it upon himself to drink himself nearly to death. I really meant that much to him? No, I was being stupid about that, but I did want to stay comfort him.
I peeled off the leopard print dress that I wore to Starks house and put on a tank top left on the side of the only table that wasn't filled with drinks to sleep in. I couldn't be bothered to go to the other side of the room to get a pair of pyjama bottoms.
So, I slipped back the covers to find him wearing only pyjama bottoms leaving his beautiful chest on full display. I couldn't look away from him. After about 5 seconds of staring at his chest, I looked back at his eyes and he realised that I had been staring at him. Red slowly started to crawl onto my cheeks as I tried to hide it and look away. He just moved over to make space for me.
Quickly, I laid down next to him, he put his arm around my stomach and his chin on my shoulder - one of the benefits of being five foot two. He brought his legs up a bit so that we ended up spooning. It felt so natural and comforting. It was like our bodies were made to fit together. Really? The Black Widow...spooning?
We had never been this close before, but it felt right. I have never opened up to anyone like this before. It just reminds me of when we first met.
I have had to seduce the target in a bar in Russia, stay with him for a couple of days – enough for him to trust me – and then kill him when he gave the information that I needed.
The Red Room doesn't exactly give you an option to run away, because I have a tracking chip in my arm, but I would have no where to go if I did ever get it out. It is a stupid dream to think about especially when you are meant to be Russia's top assassin.
I was walking back to my hotel to bandage a knife wound on my thigh when I noticed a shadow lurking around the tops of the buildings around me. On the third day here, I noticed it following me when I went for my morning run. Even undercover you have to keep up your fitness.
I have seen this shadow multiple times, but I decided to deal with it after the mission. If they want to kill me, they can feel free, I don't want to live this kind of life anymore, not that I would admit it.
I turned left when I got to a small alley. I waited for them. Suddenly, I heard something hit the ground so I turned around to find a figure in the shadows with...wait is that a bow and arrow? I had heard about a master archer called Hawk..Hawkeye was is? Yeah Hawkeye. I knew that he worked for S.H.I.E.L.D and he never misses apparently. His face was hidden from me, from the light.
"Are you here to kill me, because that is not going to work out for everyone." I said keeping up my Black Widow reputation. I wanted to die, but if we both got out of this somehow then I didn't want my reputation to go down.
"Yes." he said still not revealing his face.
"Then I would suggest that you get on with it." I said going onto my knees, placing my hands on my legs and dipping my head. I felt so peaceful and calm even though I knew what was going to happen and my thigh hurt from the cut the target gave me. I heard him draw his arrow back further. He kept it steady preparing to fire. A couple of seconds past and I wondered what was going on.
"Go on then, do it." I commanded. After a while, I got suspicious of what he was doing. I opened my eyes to find him slowly putting down his bow. What is he doing?
"What are you doing?" I asked honestly wondering what the hell was going on. Why wasn't I dead already?
"Giving you a chance." he said. I slowly stood up to look at him face to face, but before I could fully make out his features, I felt a sharp pain in my neck before everything went dark.
The next morning
I woke up the next morning feeling fine, but then I realised what happened the night before. I kept my eyes closed to listen to my surroundings and trying to act as if I were asleep. I heard someone breathing – most likely that Hawkeye. God what does he want with me.
Keeping my eyes closed, I heard a voice. "I know you're awake Widow" a man said.
Giving up, I opened my eyelids to see Hawkeye slumped over a chair drinking tea. I sat up to attack him, but was forced back down by the handcuffs attached to the bed and my ankles tied together. I tested the chains and rope, but it wouldn't budge. I looked back at Hawkeye to find him staring at me.
Breaking eye contact, I looked around at the large white room that contained multiple beds like a hospital, but there were only medical supplies surrounding me. I turned back to him, I wondered why he was staring at me, but decided to ask a different question instead.
"Where am I and why haven't you killed me?" I asked, my voice not wavering.
"You are at an old S.H.I.E.L.D base. This used to be sleeping quarters for the agents." he said, almost sounding bored.
"You still haven't answered my question. Why. Am. I. Here." I said appearing more frustrated with him.
"I saw something in you. Something that my handler saw in me when he first brought me in." he said thoughtfully. What the hell is he talking about.
"What do you mean?" I asked, curious to find out what he saw in me. No one was ever interested in me, only my skills.
"I felt like I had no place. Nowhere to go. My handler, Agent Coulson, brought me out of such a dark place to one where I could finally cope with my red ledger." I liked that phrase for some reason. Red ledger. It summarises my past perfectly. How I had killed so many innocents. I was definitely going to use that in the future. He pulled me out of my thoughts again. "I know what it is like to be controlled. Trust me."
I wondered what he meant by that, but really I just wanted to know what he wanted, so I let him continue.
"I want to offer you a place at S.H.I.E.L.D" he said. Silence filled the huge room as I let a surprised expression crawl onto my face. The Black Widow is never surprised, but at the moment I was too shocked to think.
1 minute of silence was too much to deal with, so I decided to speak..well shout.
"WHAT?" I practically shouted at his face. Then I had an imaginary shouting match at him in my mind. How the hell could I join S.H.I.E.L.D. Why would they accept me? I am the enemy. Have you gone mental or something? I thought you were meant to be Hawkeye – the archer who never misses. Then the thought doubted on me...why didn't he shoot me?
"I didn't want to kill someone who was like the old me." he said like he could read my mind. I stared into his eyes and I could see the pain of his past. Something had happened to him and I don't know why, but I felt like I could trust him.
I took a moment to look over my options and it didn't really seem like I had a choice.
"If I agree, and that is an if, how do I know I won't be shot on the spot when I arrive?" I asked.
He smiled and said "You don't. And I don't know that when I release your ties that you aren't going to attack me. I am afraid you will just have to trust me."
Who was this man? I thought to myself as I considered his offer. To be honest, I wanted to get out of the Red Room and I was kind of handcuffed to a bed, so I didn't exactly have many options. What did he want in return? I could bet that my looks had something to do with it. I am not an idiot. I know that I have more beauty than others. Mostly due to the serum I was injected with in the Red Room, which adjusted my appearance. So, he wanted me to come to S.H.I.E.L.D in return for sex most likely. I would pay him back later.
Slowly, he came towards me and untied the rope at my feet and unlocked the handcuffs. I said to him "Why are you doing this? Why are you helping me?" to which he replied "Because everybody deserves a second chance in life.".
He sat back down next to me and offered me a tea, which I accepted gratefully. He picked up a paper and started to read, occasionally sipping on his tea. Once I had finished, I crossed my legs and tied my hair up with the hairband on my wrist. I looked up and considered when to tell him about the chip in my neck. I brought my hand up to my neck to feel where it was, but all I felt was a bandage. What?
"I removed it. I know that you would have a tracker on you somewhere." he said not looking up from his paper. "Thank you" I replied. I don't really know why I said it, but I figured that I was only saying it because I was finally leaving my past.
"What is your name?" I asked because I just realised that I had spent hours with someone that I had never met before.
"Clint. Clint Barton. And you?" he asked looking up at me.
I considered answering his question truthfully, but I am not going to let all of my defences down. "Black Widow" I replied sternly.
He chuckled and I wondered what amused him until he spoke again. "Liar. Widow is not your last name unless you are very unfortunate in life and black is definitely not your first name unless your parents were serious goths."
From the first time in years, a smile graced my faced that wasn't fake.
He did not take the matter any further, but I knew that I would have that conversation with either him or a S.H.I.E.L.D agent someday if I was going to be able to join S.H.I.E.L.D with him.
"So how long have you been at S.H.I.E.L.D?" I asked him. Then he told me all about his missions and his handler Coulson, who apparently is deeply obsessed with Captain America.
Throughout the day, he brought me lots of food that I ate agonisingly slowly. Even though I wanted to shove it all in my mouth as quickly as possible, I didn't want to seem like I was living on the streets. We talked throughout the day about random missions that we had had in the past, but we did not reveal anything too big. He just felt so trustworthy. He was allowing me to escape, so I felt like I owed him a conversation at the least.
Whilst I was reading a random book about the war from a shelf, Barton's phone rang. He said earlier that he didn't have any signal, needed to contact Coulson about the situation and knew that his handler was trying to contact him as well.
"Barton" he said professionally. I had to squint to hear the other side of the line.
"Have you completed the mission?" Coulson said.
"Ummm..." he turned to face me and said "not exactly."
"What do you mean not exactly?"
"Right, hear me out here Coulson. I think that she would make a brilliant S.H.I.E.L.D agent. She has amazing skills and it would be a waste to throw away talent like that."
Coulson was silent for a few moments. Then he said one word.
Clint and I were both truly surprised. Wait did I just say Clint? Woah, I was getting way to attached to him. I seriously needed to go and punch out my emotions or something? The Red Room helped us remove our emotions with other serums and training exercises. One of the most painful things in my mind.
"What do you mean okay?" Cli-Barton said.
"I mean okay. That seems like a good plan if you have her trust."
"I do." He said whilst turning round to look at me. I think he was unaware that the serum increased my hearing.
"There is one major flaw in your plan however." Coulson said.
"What?" he said already looking like he knew what answer was coming. He looked like he was dreading it.
"Fury. Pick up at hotel roof tomorrow at 22:00 hours. Coulson out." Then the line went dead.
Barton put his phone in his pocket, sat down on a chair and put his head in his hands. He signed and pushed his hair back. I looked at him and something inside of me felt a bit sorry for him. I knew who Fury was and how he treated people. This was not going to go well.
It was 18:00 and we had 28 hours until we had to be picked up on the roof of his hotel. "Time to go" he said.
"To your hotel?" I asked wondering whether this was where I end up my end of the deal.
"Yep." he said casually.
He got his weapons bag and we headed out of the room that I had been kept in all day. He let me walk in front, because he didn't know whether I was going to escape or not. I didn't want his trust anyway.
We opened the back door and headed to a black car that didn't look inconspicuous at all! I climbed into the passenger seat and he climbed into the drivers side. We both put our seatbelts on and didn't talk at all for the journey to the hotel.
Once we arrived, he went to the front entrance and said hi to the lady at the desk putting on an Australian accent, probably keeping up a cover he was maintaining. I walked towards the lift with him and sarcastically said "Nice accent" and he replied "Hey don't disrespect the ozzies!" I laughed to myself. He was such an idiot.
We got into the lift and he pressed the button to his floor. When we arrived, there was a long corridor of room number either side. He stepped past me and made his way all the way to the end of the corridor to a room away from all of the rest. All spies know that you want to be as far away from the public as possible.
He pulled out his room key and opened the door. He place his stuff on the ground, put his phone on the desk next to the bed and went over to put his jacket on a chair probably signalling that he wanted me to begin giving him his reward for saving me. I came in and shut the door, quickly walked over to him and smashed my lips against his and wrapped my hands around his neck. It felt nice, but I was not here for my own pleasure I reminded myself. This was a debt that I needed to repay him for saving me.
He seemed quite startled and I got quite curious when he didn't respond. After a couple of seconds, he slightly pushed his soft lips against mine, but stopped when I began to zip down my cat suit that I was wearing. He pulled back as my cat suit reached my waist.
"What are you doing?" he asked truly confused that I had just stripped down to my bra in front of him.
"You saved me and no one ever does that just to save me so this is the reward that you have been waiting for." I said as I reached forward and wrapped my arms around his neck. He pushed me off of him and I stood there confused.
"Why else would you save me if you didn't want to use me?" I asked genuinely confused to why he didn't want me.
"I would never use you like that. You are not just your body you know." he said. He was saying the opposite of everything the Red Room had ever said to me.
"I owe you a debt. I owe you for saving me." I said to him trying to get through to him that I was trying to pay him back for his kindness.
"You don't owe me anything" he said as he turned to the hotels chest of drawers and pulled out a t-shirt with a S.H.I.E.L.D logo on it. He gave it to me and stared into my eyes. I didn't really believe what he was saying though and I think he recognised that. "You don't owe me anything." he said again like he knew my thoughts. This was almost turning into a mantra I thought. I pulled the top over my head as he began to get changed.
I pulled down the rest of my cat suit as he pulled his t-shirt over his head. Jesus christ he had some abs. God, he looked like he worked out in the gym everyday. I was standing there in his room staring at him and he pulled on another t-shirt. He shot me a glance and I looked up at him. Snapping out of my trance, I pulled down the rest of my cat suit with a light shade of red filling up my cheeks.
"Want some sweat pants?" he asked.
"No thanks. I usually sleep in pants and a shirt." I said. It was true, but the Red Room sometimes made us sleep in just bra and pants with no blanket if we did not achieve our goals in training. My mind went back to the demoralising way we were treated. Not enough food, intense training exercises. Suddenly I realised there was someone standing in front of me in only boxers and a t-shirt and I looked up to see his blue eyes. Beautiful I thought, not daring to even think about saying it out aloud.
"You can sleep on the bed, I will sleep on the floor." he stated as if I didn't get a choice in the matter.
Hesitantly I nodded, but I felt so alone. I never liked sleeping on my own. I felt like someone was going to try and find me in the night. If I had someone with me then they would be there to warn me about any harm that might come to me.
I went over to the bed and got in. I turned onto my side, eyes facing the direction of the door and thought about the day that had just happened.
I had left the Red Room, decided to join S.H.I.E.L.D and had put my life in the hands of someone that I have known for about 24 hours. S.H.I.E.L.D had sent Barton to kill me, so I had no one I could trust. Perhaps Barton, but apart from that I was alone.
Clint came over to the side table next to the bed to get his phone. Just as he was walking away, I caught his right wrist and said "Stay with me." I couldn't believe what I was saying and how I sounded...so vulnerable.
"Are you sure?" he said sounding like he felt like he was intruding her personal space.
"Yes. I'd feel safer." I said and I moved over to make room for him. He slipped in beside me and we faced opposite walls, back to back.
"Goodnight Widow." he whispered.
"Goodnight...Clint" I said and I heard his breathing stop and then restart at the shock of hearing me being friendly.
The next morning
I woke up to find myself warmer than usual. Before opening my eyes, the previous few days were returning to my memory. The alley, the old S.H.I.E.L.D base and the hotel room.
I shifted slightly as I felt something underneath me moving. I opened my eyes to see my left leg and arm draped across Clint with his arms wrapped tightly around my waist. I saw his eyes open and he said "Morning".
I stared into his eyes and thought about how we hadn't moved from this position. His muscles had tightened and he looked like I as going to kill him. Damn he was comfortable.
It was too cold to get up and I didn't really want to move away from him, so I just put my head back on his chest and replied to his earlier comment "Good morning Barton". He didn't seem to be fussed about moving either so he relaxed into me and pulled me slightly closer.
After 5 minutes, we were both still awake and I had no idea how to deal with this. Do I knock him unconscious and deny waking up together? God this is a mess. He spoke up breaking me from my train of thought.
"Are you feeling any better?"
"Yeah." I said plainly
"What was wrong?"
"Nothing..It's just...I don't like being alone when I am not on a mission." I said pulling away from him feeling a tiny bit embarrassed about what I had just said. A small amount of red was rising on my cheeks and I looked away from him whilst sitting on my shins next to him. He grabbed my hand and said "Don't be. I get it to."
I was taken back that he had opened up to a heartless assassin. To be honest, I can't believe I had either. I needed to stop this, so I got up from the bed and went over the get the cat suit that I had stripped off the night before. Oh God. I just remembered that I kissed him. Pushing that away from my mind, I looked down at my leg and realised that the cut the target gave me had a bandage over it as well. I was too distracted last night to notice.
"You bandaged up my leg?" I asked
"Yeah, I was surprised you didn't notice?"
"Me too." I said reflecting on my own stupidity.
He walked over to me and said "I need to re-dress it."
I agreed, took off my cat suit again and we walked into the bathroom. It was quite nice in there with a separate shower and bath, but I didn't really care. I sat on the edge of the bath as he sewed up my wounds. He works very well with a needle and thread. Better than me anyway. Once he had finished, he looked up at me and said "Pancakes?"
We ate breakfast and what a delicious breakfast it was. Clint can really cook! Then we sat in our own spaces for the rest of the day. He was reading magazines about archery whilst I was stretching and exercising in the hotel gym. He trusted me enough not to run away and occasionally came to check on me.
It was 21:58 and we were making our way up to the roof.
We opened the roof doors to find the helicopter just landing and a man, I guessed was Coulson, coming out with two guards both with guns aimed at me. I wasn't surprised and to be honest I thought they would bring more. They must have really trusted Clint's judgement.
"Black Widow, my name is Agent Phil Coulson and I am Barton's handler. We will be taking you in this helicopter to see the Director of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division. His name in Nicholas J. Fury. He will be assessing you directly along with me to make sure that you are not the enemy. Do I make my self clear?"
"Yes Agent Coulson" I said.
We all climbed into the helicopter. The two guards were seated at the front of the helicopter just behind the pilot and behind that was Coulson sitting opposite us with only a table separating us. The journey to the base was silent.
When we arrived, I stepped out of the helicopter onto a S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier to find everybody staring at me. One agent even dropped their files not acknowledging the fact that all their paperwork was spreading across the ship.
One of the two guards pushed me forward and I fell on the floor. "HEY!" I heard Clint shout as he came to help me up. "She is not a prisoner." he quietly shouted realising that he had just defended the Black Widow in front of a bunch of agents. Pulling me up by my shoulders, I quickly said a quiet "Thanks" to him and then continued my walk through the base.
Upon entering the building, Coulson directed me through multiple corridors that even with my super human memory could not find a way back to the entrance. Coulson must be a regular to visit Fury's office I thought. As I entered his office, I noticed a chair facing the window and woman in the corner of the room that looked like she actually commanded the ship, but this obviously was not Fury.
As I sat down, the chair holding "The Might Fury" span round to reveal a man that looked like he could wipe out the entire world with the click of his fingers. This was probably possible.
Clint stayed behind my chair and not actually taking a seat of his own until Fury nodded telling him to do so. The uptight woman, that I was now guessing was Maria Hill, and Coulson stood next to each other on the right hand side of the desk assessing the situation.
"Natalia Alianovna Romanova" he began. I froze in my seat and I was just focused on those three words. My name. My real name. How did he acquire this information? Clint shifted in his seat at the realisation that this was my name. Fury had known, but he did not inform Clint. Probably to withdraw an any romantic connection Clint might have to me. Going on the base of yesterday and this morning. I would say that his plan had failed. Wait, what me and Clint have is not romance! We do not even have anything! I just remembered that Fury had told me my name and I needed to find out who he got it from!
"How do you know my real name?" I kept my face stoic not revealing any emotion, but my insides were playing havoc and my heart rate increased dramatically.
"You came to us on the basis that we might give you a second chance. You do not ask the questions around here." he said with more presence than I have ever seen any human have. Apart from me. I am guessing there was a traitor in the Red Room or S.H.I.E.L.D infiltrated it somehow?
"Now" he continued "Agent Barton here was sent to kill you, because you have killed hundreds of innocent lives. He has never failed in his duty before now." I looked over at Barton who was looking disappointed and confused as to why he saved me. My attention was drawn back to Nick Fury when he began to talk again.
"So I would like you to show me why we should let you stay." he said.
"And how would you like me to do that Director?" I said.
"Stand up" he commanded and pulled me over to the centre of the room. Barton was pulled back by Coulson and Maria quite forcefully actually. All four of them went over to stand in the corner of the room as Fury pressed a button on a remote he had in his hand.
Suddenly, a side door slide open and 10 S.H.I.E.L.D agents filed through the door. I looked at them and analysed the situation. 3 scared, 7 over-confidents.
Fury looked at me and said "Do not injure them" I looked at him with raised eyebrows and he added "too badly." I turned back to the situation at hand and they were surrounding me.
I glanced quickly over at Coulson, Hill, Fury and Barton and said "You are going to need more agents." Right at that moment, a cocky agent charged at me, but in one simple move I did a flip over his head and swept his feet from under him. Let the fun begin I though smiling to myself.
Two scared ones began to advance towards me along with three arrogant agents. The two scared ones were knocked out with two punches in the face, a kick to the back of the knees for one and a thigh kick for the other. The three arrogant agents had me surrounded in a triangle, but the fight was not over. I elbowed one in the face, punched another in the stomach and kicked one in the chest all at the same time whilst jumping in the air. The chest kick had sent the agent straight down. The guy that I had elbowed in the face was knocked out immediately. The punch in the stomach had the agent bending double, which gave me the opportunity to kick him in the face.
6 down, 4 to go. Simple.
The last scarred one was stepping back so I did him a favour and tripped him over to save him the embarrassment of falling over one of the knocked out agents on the floor. One agent came towards me and nearly punched me in the face, but I swerved around just in time and punched him in the ribs. I jumped in the air and kick my feet into his chest. Then I pushed my back of the ground, very graciously, and swept the feet under another agent and punching him in the face, knocking him out. One guy left, he ran towards me at a high speed, but I quickly anticipated his move going for my signature 'Death by thighs' as I like to call it. The thigh lock is its professional name, but in my head I like 'Death by thighs'.
As I swung my legs around his neck and he fell to the floor, I landed in a strong squat surrounded by the 10 agents that I had just defeated in under the space of a minute.
I turned round, hardly out of breath, to Fury, Coulson and Maria all staring at Clint who was clapping his hands, laughing and smiling. "I hate that agent" he said pointing at the one that had the misfortune of meeting my thigh lock.
Fury shook his head and gestured for me to sit down before he began "Now, it will take me a while to trust you, but I know that Agent Barton seems to have your trust and I trust his judgement. Due to this aspect, he will be your partner. I want to see how you work with other people and how you attack. Do I make myself clear?" he said directing his question at both of us. We both said in unison "Yes, Sir".
"Miss Romanova, this is going to be the only time that I ask you this. Would you like me to change you name?" Fury asked. I thought about the last mission I went on, just before I met Clint, and I thought I quite liked the name that they gave me for it. So I replied "Natasha. Natasha Romanoff, Sir." Clint looked at me and smiled, because we talked about the name I was given as a cover for the mission when I met him.
"Good. Now that has been sorted Miss Romanoff, Barton will show you to the room next to his, which will now become yours. Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D" he said and Barton got up to leave. I just followed him.
I ended up following him everywhere after that I thought to myself. I can't believe he put his faith in me.
I could hear and feel Clint's faint breathing on my neck signifying that he was asleep. I checked the S.H.I.E.L.D data for his file and he has a mission tomorrow in Mexico (I think), with Coulson about a hammer. Sounds mental.
I curled up closer to him and his grip around me tightened. However, I didn't feel constricted...I felt at home.