Trying to Save Your Life.
Part 1 | Part 2
She was bathing in Moscow when they caught her. It was, she mused, to be expected.
“Are you aware how long we have been looking for you, Agent Romanoff?” the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent asked brusquely.
“Yes,” she replied calmly. She should have known this was coming. She should have been more careful.
“If you would please come with me. You’re under arrest for treason.” A sigh. “Please don’t try to escape. We’ve got the blocks surrounded.”
There was a soft cough behind the agent, and he stepped aside, revealing a man behind him, his mouth drawn in a line.
“Natasha, please.” he said, stepping forward.
She stopped, and — strangely, instinctively, moved to cover herself, something she had forgotten to do in her shock. Of course, he of all people would inspire that reaction in her.
She looked up, trying to look sympathetic. “Hello, Clint.”
He snatched a towel off the rack, folded it deftly in his hands and reached out to hand it to her, his eyes locked on hers. She stood and set her shoulders, brazenly, the water falling dripping down her in rivulets, watching the eyes of the other agents look away while he looked at her. He sighed and gestured with the towel again, and she took it.
Delicately stepping out of the tub onto the cool tile floor, her shoulders lost a bit of their bravado. Watching the water pool around her toes and feeling Clint’s gaze on her, she realized she was lost.
“I need to get dressed.”
His face was a mask as he tilted his head and indicated the door. “Agents, please let us through.” he said softly, and they parted, heads still down. They walked out, her feet leaving damp footprints across the tile and on to the threadbare carpet in the hall. She opened the door to her room, and once through, made to close it and met with resistance. He stood with one hand holding the door open, a smile teasing at his lips.
“Oh, no. You’ll not be alone at any point.”
Fuck. That was another chance gone.
“Would you mind — at least — turning around while I change?”
“Whither the sudden modesty?” he asked, “Of course I will not.”
She scowled at him as she dropped the towel and reached for her bra. “I would have expected you to say ‘Nothing I haven’t seen before’”
He laughed. “Too cliché.”
“When did they rope you in on this?”
“I was in Poland a few days ago. Not to mention I know you fairly well.”
She shrugged into a sweater. “Right. Why not bring you on sooner?”
He chuckled. “You know, I heard you were actually succeeding at living off the grid. I know you’re paranoid, but I think they’ve only been on the trail for a very short time.”
“They’ve been very thorough for all that. I found Missing Person Notices.”
He shrugged. “Well, you made it awfully difficult. We couldn’t use any of the usual methods. I’m frankly surprised you kept your name.”
“It’s common here,” she said.
“But it’s also a precaution that you could be counted on to take.”
She smirked at him. “You don’t say.”
Another small smile.
It was — she admitted ruefully — strange to see him so restrained. She couldn’t think of the last time she had only seen him half smile, and these grim moods of his were practically unheard of. She glanced over in between rolling her stocking up, and saw his hands moving in familiar motions, keeping his fingers limber. How long had he been looking for her? She had been careful the first few years — careful to just live her life as a regular citizen to not draw attention to herself.
Reminded, she walked over to her armoire, and pulled out the bottom drawer. She ran her hands across the bottom until she felt a catch, and her nails dug in, prying up a trick bottom with her wristguards there. She pulled — had it gotten wet? It seemed stuck — until finally it flew off, knocking her off balance, and she flew backwards onto her back.
WIthin moments he was there, reaching in, and his hand emerged clasping her wrist. He turned to look at her, his free hand wagging a finger at her.
“Now this wasn’t expected. Everyone assumed you’d ditched your weapons in order to blend in.”
“Of course not. What was I supposed to do when you stopped looking for me?”
“Where would you have gone?”
“Well not back to S.H.I.E.L.D.,” she said. “Further I go, harder it is for you to find me.”
“Yet here we are.”
“Because I made a mistake.”
He cocked his head. “You know, I don’t believe that for a second. You don’t make mistakes. You wanted us to find you.”
She scowled again.
He took a step closer and tilted his head down towards here. “Or was it you wanted me to find you?”
She shoved hard against him, but it only succeeded in hurting her hand.
“No, you asshole. I just fucked up. I didn’t do it on purpose, and I certainly didn’t do it to find you again.”
His smirk spread across his face. “Bullshit, Natasha. Bullshit.” He leaned down and kissed her firmly. “Now are we going to get out of here, or what?”
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