Near dawn, a taxi pulls up to the Waverly Diner at the corner of 6th Ave and Waverly in New York City.
Clint Barton exits the taxi in sunglasses and black sweater. He walks into the diner, going past the ATM and newspaper stand in the foyer, into the Formica-paneled room with glossy brown leather booths. His eyes dart from the hand-written CASH ONLY NO CHECKS ACCEPTED sign to the booth under a framed picture of Marlyn Monroe and James Dean sharing a milkshake. In the booth, Natasha Romanov sits examining the big plastic menu wearing a denim jacket and striped shirt. Clint walks over and sits down.
"Coming in early or getting the call late?" Nat doesn't look up from her menu.
Clint's shoulders drop. He pushes his sunglasses up. He is a full grown adult man and doesn't have to answer that.
"They have disco Fries here." Nat scanned the menu. "How is that not just poutine?"
"You called me here. You said it was an order."
"It's something like that."
Clint was about to say something when a chubby waiter with dark circles around his eyes and a comically bushy mustache appeared.
They nod. Natasha puts the menu down.
"Heard you're back in action after Madagascar."
"Maybe a little local gig could get you back into the game."
"Maybe I wanted an excuse to come to the city and this seemed easy."
The dark circles and mustache dropped two full coffee mugs on the table before darting off toward the kitchen. Nat shook out a sugar packet and poured it in her coffee, watching Clint tear open and pour five creamers into his.
"You want some coffee in that milk?"
"Milk does a body good." Clint said with the cadence of an old joke. "Like your black one sugar is any cooler, is that like a statement or something? 'Black as the night, sweet as sin."?
"I'm lactose intolerant" Nat sips her coffee again and puts the mug to her lips.
"You are a piece of -" The chubby waiter's mustache looms into view. Nat and Clint hand him the menus before he has time to open his mouth and say "Lumberjack breakfast, scrambled, extra jam" in unison. The waiter runs off while Clint puts his empty creamer cups inside themselves.
"What's the job?"
Nat slides him a folder.
"Mikhal Bezos-Shaw. Real charming guy from a Macedonian crime family. Started in arms and mining, now into natural gas and money laundering in a big way. He's the prime public front for a lot of missing crates of guns and bombs, not to mention what his company likes to do towns in the way of new pipelines. Always visits New York once a year to sure up business contracts and pick up a new gift for his doting wife at ...Tiffany's."
Clint took off his sunglasses and flipped through the folder.
"We've never been able to get him holding anything but we know he makes a hand off every time he's in town."
"They think he does it in the store?"
"It's the only time he's not being monitored."
The waiter returned with plate-laded arms. He put down the two lumberjack breakfasts and syrup containers and the bowl full of individually wrapped packets of jam.
"And why are we doing this? This is grunt work." Clint finished off his coffee and picked up the fork.
"Erikvich is out sick, Cho is in deep cover, Taymor currently thinks he's a pony, and Bragason is getting married."
"Wait a second." Clint held a fork-full of eggs to his mouth. "Bragason is getting married?
"To the great big hairy guy in Accounts?"
"Aw." Clint put the eggs in his mouth "That's so sweet."
"I'll send them your regards. You in or not?"
Clint slumped back into the brown-leather booth. "When was the last time we saw each other?"
"July 27th. The internal review board meeting."
Nat arched an eyebrow.
"July 25th. I saw you from the balcony of the DC house I was assigned to but I don't think you saw me. You where wearing blue, a skirt but loose enough for running, and based on how you handled your little clutch bag you where carrying a Level-4 pulse disruptor pistol."
Nat's eyebrows did A Thing. It was pointed directly at Clint.
Clint smiled. "It's fine. I'm in. When's the time?"
"Tomorrow." Nat picked up a piece of bacon. "0700."
"Okay good, can I wear m-"
"You can wear the suit." Nat bit off some bacon.
"Awesome." Clint grabbed the little syrup container off to the side and poured it over his pancakes and sausage. "It's not everyday you get to have breakfast at Tiffany's!" Clint mugged his eyes at her. Nat just shrugged.
"What, nothing? Audrey Hepburn? Deep Blue Something?"
Nat shook her head and shrugged again.
Clint sighed and cut up his pancake. "Worse than talking to Rogers."