Clint awoke the moment his phone buzzed on the floor next to his mattress. He got a new message. He considered the opportunity of going back to sleep without checking it, but he was on a mission and it may be important.
The message was short yet he had to read it several times. He gasped and couldn't believe his eyes.
I'm breaking up with you. We're professionals, this should never have happened. Sorry. Nat
The last two weeks have been hard for Clint, Natasha doing undercover in Ukraine and him being on a mission in Japan. They were used to being separated for a few weeks, after all, they were still assassins and probably the best agents of SHIELD, even if they weren't just partners in work anymore but lovers and best friends, and, after a while, partners in life. They could handle this.
Or, at least, Clint thought they could. But now he just stared blankly at the screen of his phone and felt his world turn upside down.
He hoped it was just some kind of mistake or joke. He knew there had to be an answer for this crap. He was dialing Natasha's number even before he realised he was doing so. No one answered the call, but he got another message.
Don't wanna talk about it. Not now. Wait till you got home - it read.
Clint dropped the phone back to the floor and sat on the rough mattress, staring up at the ceiling. He still couldn't believe it could happen. They have had their ups and downs, of course, they had arguments. They were grumpy assassins, so it was okay, he guessed. But they loved each other so much that those tiny fights were always really soon forgotten. And for God's sake, they fitted incredibly in the bed. They were awesome lovers, even Natasha had to admit it, though she had had a lot of experience with rich and handsome guys on missions. Her attractive body and seductive voice had always worked on any targets, making Clint incredibly jealous.
And now she said it was enough, she regretted all of it. Clint knew it would come, he considered himself for a lucky guy for even having Natasha for a brief time. He would go back home in a few days, after his mission is over, and at best he can hope that they still could be best friends, or just simply friends. He had to hold on to this picture, because not having Natasha in his life would have meant a part of him dying.
He laid back on the old mattress and felt the temperature of the safe house far too cold. He shivered under his blanket and tried to sleep. He needed to rest, for the next day would be his last on this mission in Japan, if he didn't screw up. Then he would go home and suffer for the rest of his life.
When morning came, Clint got up and packed his back without any big emotions washing over him. He was a professional and his personal life had nothing to do with his job as a SHIELD agent. He switched his phone off, he wanted not to be bothered while finishing his work.
The air was cold and smoky outside, and Clint had to sat on a bench in a park for such a long time, waiting for his targets, he started to think he would be so busy with sneezing and blowing his nose that he would miss them. And he had a hard time getting his mind on work, not letting himself the comfort of thinking about Natasha.
Finally, just as Clint started to doubt that his targets would even appear in this park, a shiny red car stopped at the entrance of the park, and three man got out of it. They were dressed in dark suits and two of them carried a metal box. Clint lowered his head and pretended to read his book.
About ten minutes later, another car approached the park, and two men came to meet the other three. A stout woman followed them, a big fake smile on her wide face. Clint turned a page.
The men were talking beneath a huge tree and Clint could not hear them but knew exactly what was happening. They were making a deal.
It would be easier for him just to get the box before the other's arrival but Fury had clear orders that the deal has to be made before he moves. So he waited.
The three men passed the box to the other two, and the woman gave them a suspiciously thick envelope. The deal was done. Clint closed his book and left it on the bench.
The men in the dark suits hurried towards their car, and Clint let them but went after the men with the box. He pulled his handgun out of his coat and fired. He shot both men in the arms so they couldn't shoot him in response, then went to hide behind a tree because the stout woman apparently had her own gun.
Clint jumped out of his hiding place and run towards his targets. They shot at him but all of the bullets missed. Clint fired again, and the next second all three of them were crouching on the ground. He got there, kicked the woman's gun out of her reach, and lifted the metal box in his arms.
He run away, holding the important box tight to his chest, trying to get away as soon as possible, before the men could follow him.
He turned to a busy street and walked hurriedly towards the safe house. He didn't dare running, that would be too suspicious. He were almost there, when he got shot. He gasped and tried not to drop the box. The attacker who was nowhere to be seen, must have had other bullets so Clint was in trouble. He started running, pushing away people from his way.
Accidentally catching a glimpse of a small alley, Clint run there, hiding behind a huge container while he switched his phone on and texted to SHIELD that he needed backup. His whole left arm throbbed painfully, bleeding hard.
Armed men appeared from the street, looking for him. A plan started to form in his head, crazy, desperate plan, but SHIELD needed this box and he had nothing to live for but SHIELD. Those men would find him in a minute anyway.
He clambered out from his hiding place, hissing as the bullet in his shoulder burned his muscles. He used his handgun to kill as many of his enemies as he could while he sprinted to a door left ajar on the other side of the alley. He got there with just one enemy left, and another bullet in him, this time in his waist.
He coughed and run upwards on the stairs. He wanted to reach the roof of the house. His enemy stayed close but couldn't get a shot while running as fast as he could. Clint pushed dustbins in his way to slow him down but it was just a desperate attempt to win, to survive.
He reached the top of the stairs, panting, and fall out of the door to the roof. The enemy arrived right after him, aiming his gun at Clint, who thought for a second that he was going to die. But then a helicopter appeared on the gray sky and plunged down. The guy shot a frightened look to the helicopter then back to Clint who had his own handgun in his hand, though he couldn't really aim with floating stains fogging his vision.
They fired at the same time, and Clint's last thought was that he hadn't had the chance to talk with Natasha about their relationship. Then he fainted so he couldn't see his enemy getting the bullet right in his forehead, falling off the stairs.
Clint guessed he wasn't dead after all because he could feel terrible pain in his shoulder and chest. He wanted to rest, to flee from the pain, but someone kept whispering his name. It was a kind, warm, lovely voice, and he realised it was Natasha talking to him.
He wanted to tell her that he loved her, that they should have discuss their problems, but the effort it took to try and open his eyes and talk made him groan with pain. A light touch on his forehead made him feel a bit less nervous which was enough to him to go back to sleep. Darkness enclosed him.
The next time he woke up, Clint was alone in his room in the hospital. His had was pounding and he felt dizzy but he needed to talk to someone.
A man in frock chose this moment to walk in. Must be his doctor.
'Hi, Agent Barton' he greeted Clint with a small smile. ' I'm glad you're awake. How are you feeling?
'Sore' Clint replied dryly. 'What's the damage?' he asked.
'Two bullets, one in your left shoulder, one in your chest. We took both out. And you have an ugly wound in your waist, but the bullet didn't stay in. It must have gone right through you.' the doctor reported.'And you got a cold' he added.
'Okay. When do I get to home?' asked Clint, already exhausted from the conversation.
'A few days, I would say' replied his doctor. 'Would you want to see your visitors?' he asked. 'They are waiting for you.'
Clint considered it for a moment but then refused the offer briefly. He wasn't ready for Natasha. Not yet. He sighed and fall asleep with a painful grimace on his face.
'You're gonna wake him up!' warned a low voice and the chattering or fighting or whatever it was, stopped immediately as every eye turned to him. He opened his eyes, trying to focus on the faces.
There were people in the room, his friends, he realised. The Cap, Bruce, Tony, Phil Coulson and, of course, Natasha.
'Hey' Clint croaked. The others smiled at him and murmured greetings.
'How are you feeling?' asked a worried Natasha, sitting on the closest chair beside his bed. She reached out and took his hand. Clint shut his eyes for a moment, just wanting to enjoy the touch of her.
'Awesome' he replied when he opened his eyes again. Phil chuckled. 'Could I be alone for now?' he asked. His friends waved him and went out, shutting the door behind them, but Natasha stayed where she was. 'You too' Clint said, lifting his eyes to her.
She stared at him with hurt eyes, but after a moment of hesitation she got up to leave the room.
'Why?' Clint asked, as she stepped to the door.
'What?' Natasha turned back with confusion.
'Why would you leave me?' came the painful question. Clint thought he was still too weak for this conversation but he couldn't wait any longer. He wanted answers.
'Because you just told me?' raised Natasha an eyebrow, totally confused.
'Not that' Clint rolled his eyes. At least, this didn't cause him pain. 'Why don't you want to be with me anymore? Why do you want to break up with me?' he groaned and he couldn't stop the tears gathering, watering his eyes. It was foolish of him, crying in front of her, but at that moment he couldn't really care.
'What the hell are you talking about?' came Natasha back to his bed, watching him utterly distracted.
'You sent me a message saying you were breaking up with me and when I tried to call you, you said you didn't want to talk.' Clint explained. 'And I get it, I knew you would find out that I am not at all good enough for you, but I thought you are not the type who does these things via sms' he said, hurt.
'Wait, wait! I don't know what you're talking about. I never wanted to break up with you' she claimed.
'I am not imagining things' Clint growled. 'And don't worry, I won't again try and get myself killed while on mission, painful enough.'
'What?! You're telling me you wanted to get yourself killed?' Natasha snapped at him.
'Weak moment' Clint shrugged and moaned right after, because his shoulder hurt a lot. Natasha placed a hand on it, tears running down her cheeks.
'I still don't know what's this thing about the break-up but don't you ever dare to die!' she cried, sitting down on the bed and burying her face in Clints neck.
'Sorry' he mumbled, confused as hell. He stroke Nat's hair. So she loved him?
'I love you so much' Natasha snivelled, as if she were reading his mind, her sound dull from Clint's neck.' I couldn't lose you!'
'Look' Clint said, after he got through the shock that Natasha still seemed to be in love with him. Which was quite comforting. 'There's still that thing with the message.'
'Oh, that stupid message thing' Natasha made a face. 'I swear I never sent you such a message.'
'You did' protested Cint, reaching for his phone on the bedside table and showing the messages to Natasha. Her face fell.
She stormed out of the room, leaving a confused Clint behind, and all that could be heard was cursing words and a big thud. Then another.
Natasha came back, her eyes shining with anger.
'What was that?' Clint asked, curiously watching the door she shut after her.
'That asshole got drunk and thought it would be fun if he wrote you some things in my name' she fumed. 'So he stole my phone while I was having a conversation whit his wife.'
'Wait! So Tony wrote me those things?' asked Clint, anger growing inside of him.
Natasha nodded, and Clint wanted to get out of bed, immediately, and punch the billionaire in the face.
'Easy!' Natasha calmed him down, as he hissed from pain. ' I've already broken his nose for that.'
Clint grinned. That was his Natasha. He waved her closer and she came sitting on his bed.
'I love you, Nat' Clint admitted, hugging her close, not caring that his shoulder was about to explode with pain.
She stared down at him with shining green eyes, a little scar on her forehead.
'Me too, you idiot' she sighed, smiling, hugging him back. 'Me too'
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