May. 19th, 2012 11:02 pm
[personal profile] sapotefiction
Title: Ellipse
Rating: Explicit
Fandom: The Avengers (2012 film)
Pairing: Clint/Natasha
Beta: thanks to [personal profile] phnelt!

1. She is not gentle with him.

He knows now - more than he ever wanted to know - that they're evenly matched, that she is barely, barely faster and stronger than he is. They still practice together, they still fight together, but she never showed him everything she knows and she doesn't now. He knows now that she never will.

In bed she is a little vicious and a lot possessive, sucking bruises onto his neck and chest, holding his hands down as she moves on top of him. He doesn't know what she does while she's away; she doesn't tell him. They are safe and they are careful but she sinks her fingernails into the backs of his thighs while she blows him, holds her body above his until he begs her, fucks him until he trembles, until he whines high in the back of his throat and his hands tighten on her hips in entreaty. She fucks him like she wants to wipe out everything that's happened in the meantime, and when she comes it's with a shout of grim triumph, her hand threaded through his hair.

He knows she'll leave again. That was never a question.

2. Depending on what, exactly, in her memories and files are true, Natasha thinks she's probably older than Clint Barton by a good decade. The story is that she defected from the Soviet Union, which broke up when Barton was a seventeen-year-old sideshow entertainer; the story is that what she sees when she looks in the mirror is as much the product of science as the Hulk is.

It's possible that none of that is real, though, and she knows it.

3. Lots of people have told Natasha - under various names - that they love her. She's worked to make them say it, more than once, right before they tell her the combination to the safe or the location of the secret base or the name of the person holding the hostages. Given that she's usually posting as their escort or as someone else's mistress, or she met them three days ago at a cocktail party and now they're promising to leave their wife for her, she considers it a pretty empty word. At most it's a placeholder ; at worst it's an excuse, like "I was drunk" or "I didn't know those were the real launch codes".

In Barcelona, Barton carries her six blocks to the launch point, blood from the shrapnel wound in her thigh staining his shirt; she takes aim over his shoulder, fires, takes down three would-be assassins before they make it to the helipad. When she wakes up in the hospital room he is sitting in the doorway, bow on his lap. It evens them up a little; he's still got a scar on his leg from the day that she hauled him, unconscious, out of an abandoned warehouse in Newark three and a half minutes before it exploded.

Natasha would rather have loyalty than love. Loyalty is better than love. Loyalty is love with its clothes on.

4. Barton has never forgotten what she is for a moment. Not when she's wearing a t-shirt and a short skirt in a club in Barcelona, not when she's theoretically off-duty in her townhouse in DC in bare feet and leggings, not when she's going into cover in an evening gown and staggering heels. Even Bruce thinks - when she opens the door of her apartment in New York wearing flannel pajama pants - that he's seeing the real her. That the black-suited, deadly, silent woman he sees on missions is the act she puts on and takes off.

Clint knows better. Clint doesn't ask that of her.

5. She is standing by a window in a hotel in Patras, the window flung open to the sun and hot summer wind off the bay. Her papers give her a new last name, a family fortune, and an unfinished doctorate; the papers say that Clint is her bodyguard, in quotes. They are here to track down a renegade-genius molecular chemist. Natasha suspects that if the woman cooperates there's a secure lab and a pack of minders waiting for her back in the States. If she doesn't cooperate, well, there are two of them and one of her.

That's later; Natasha always expects an unpleasant later. In the now, Clint says "Tasha -" before he touches her shoulder, and she turns and lets him kiss her, friendly, in the sunlight.
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