Avengers Fic: "In the Red" Clint/Natasha, R

In the Red
Avengers Movieverse
Word count: 1,100

"When you’ve fallen below all the shit you’ve been fed/And you feel like you’re gonna go mad/Then you know you have come out alive more than dead."

Clint never used to be afraid of the dark. Not until Loki turned his brain (or was it his heart?) inside out, then spit him back out into a harsh light. Reality.

After New York, he returned to work. Assignments in Brazil, Japan, South Africa. Coulson's death still stung. It took him awhile to get used to the new voice in his ear.

Six months after New York, six months after he helped saved the world, six months since he had been unmade by the hands of Loki, she found him. A safehouse an hour outside Los Angeles.

“Natasha.” He didn't mean for her name to come out as a whisper, but it usually did. Usually. Always.

She stood in the doorway. Wavy red hair that touched her shoulders. Black slacks and heeled boots. A green blouse underneath a leather jacket. Her face bare with no make-up. She didn't ask to come in, just tilted her head to one side, and said, “Let's go for a walk.”

He looked outside. The sun was high in the sky. No clouds. Just brightness. He squinted as he followed her through the door. Should have grabbed the shades.


They didn't talk for at least ten minutes. Just walked side by side in the desert.

Clint spoke first. “How did know where I was?

“It wasn't that hard to figure out. I just followed you,” she said with a smile.

He leaned his head back, then regretted it as soon as the sun blinded him. “So, how long have you been tailing me then?

“Since Tokyo.” She shrugged. “I'm surprised you didn't notice.”

The thought seemed to bother her. It bothered him too.

“And now here you are, knocking on my door,” he said. “I didn't know you did charity work.”

“You're not a charity case, Barton.” Her eyes lit up, amused. He liked that sort of light much better. She paused in her steps and crossed her arms. “Fury's sending me undercover. Deep.”

She got right to the point, didn't she?

Clint inhaled. “Okay.”

“I might be gone for awhile,” she continued. “Nine months, a year.”

He exhaled. “Okay.”

“I just thought you should know.” She lowered her gaze, and the light went with her.


They walked back to the safehouse in the same way they walked out. Silent, side by side. This time, Natasha followed him inside. His hands were steady (always steady) when they wrapped around her waist. Sometimes, he forgot how small she was. He pulled her to him, bowed his head until his mouth met her ear.

“Nat...” A whisper. Always a whisper.

She smelled like oranges and gunpowder. It made him pull her closer until their chests connected and his erection pressed against her thigh.

She didn't move from him, stayed in his arms, and he wanted to say more than just her name. Tell her what he felt in this moment.

Safe. Content. Free. Alive. Grateful. Light.

He felt light. Like light.

He led her to the small bed in the corner. Sheets twisted with sweat and nightmares. He undressed her first. The jacket. The blouse. Her bra. Then, her slacks and boots. His fingers skimmed soft skin, then across scarred patches. He looked up into her vulnerable face. And sometimes, he forgot how young she was. There was a good ten years in between them, but right now, there was nothing.

Naked, Natasha knelt on the mattress and removed his layers. His black T-shirt. Her swift fingers unbuckling his belt, then sliding his jeans and briefs down his legs. When she wrapped those fingers around his cock, they didn't break eye contact. A silent dare.

This time, he picked truth. “Did you come all this way because you missed me?”

She answered him by lying on her back and opening her legs. He took a moment to memorize this moment. Natasha's wild red hair spread on the pillow, her legs inviting him to her (a death trap for many, maybe for him too), her full lips parted, her eyes dancing with that light he wanted to feel again.

He lowered himself to her. She tugged on his short hair strands, dragging his mouth to hers. His heart hammered as he moved his mouth along her pale neck, in between the valley of her breasts, then lower and lower until her back arched. When he pressed his tongue against her wet slit, she whimpered. Just like in Budapest.


In the morning, Natasha was gone. The empty spot next to him was still warm, still smelled like oranges.

Clint got out of bed. He didn't look for a note or for an explanation. He didn't need one. Instead, his bare feet padded across the wooden floor to the window. There was something familiar and comforting about the red sun spilling over the horizon as morning appeared. He opened his arms and embraced the light.


Eighteen months later. Paris. Another assignment done and over with.

Clint bought a newspaper from a newsstand. The girl behind the counter didn't see the red under his fingernails. He slipped on his sunglasses, tucked the paper under his left arm, and entered an apartment building. He took the steps, two at a time, climbed ten stories before he made it to the roof. From a distance, the Eiffel Tower loomed in the late afternoon sky.

This was where he was most comfortable. Above the world, watching, observing. He dropped his gaze to the scene below him. The traffic. The bustle of people on the sidewalks. People running, walking, singles, in pairs. But he wasn't interested in any of that right now. Right now, he waited.

Clint felt her before he heard her.


He turned at the sound of her voice. Natasha stood in front of him. Her red hair tumbled down her back in loose curls. Her body hidden under a black overcoat. He smelled oranges in the air.

“I was wondering when you would catch up,” he said.

She blinked, surprised maybe, given the circumstances the last time she was on his trail. But things were different now. Everything was going to be different.

He approached her while she remained in place, arms at her side. Gently, he cupped her cheek and wrapped a red curl around his finger. “I noticed.”


Title from "In the Red" by Sarah Fimm (such a good Clint/Natasha song!)

I’m kind of in a watercolor wasteland
The place you go to bow and pay the toll
A never-ending system of abrasions
Only there to control

The way you suck me up into a nightmare
The dirty way you cut me with a smile
I hate to admit how I love when you give it to me

In the red
Crying out
At the edge
Looking down

Every single minute takes an hour
When you’re in the power of the beast
There’s hate breeding hatred inside of my head
And there’s not that much left to be said

In the red
Crying out
At the edge
Looking down

When you’ve fallen below all the shit
you’ve been fed
And you feel like you’re gonna go mad
Then you know you have come out
alive more than dead

Download the song (m4a file)
GUHHHH. Just, wow. Here via the be_compromised comm, and I am so glad I clicked on this link. I love how you captured the characters and relationship, as well as managed to break my heart all in one. Love it.
OMG SO MUCH LOVE FOR THESE TWO AND THE WAY YOU'VE WRITTEN THEM. Seriously, this is my head canon versions of them, perfectly. I love how they're so aware of each other and how they can say so much without actually saying it, by virtue of knowing each other so well. ♥
I love this to death. The style, all brief, snappy sentences and observations reflects their relationship and the way they communicate, both verabally and physically, so damn well. Plus the them of this and he notices and yes, yes.
Thanks! I loved playing with the dynamic of Clint as someone who always watches and observes, and yes, he notices. He always notices :)
This was great! I liked the parallels you had to the light/sun, considering the fact they are kind of each others shadows. :)