There was a cat hanging around Avengers Tower.
It probably liked to think of itself as a cat. It was small enough to be a kitten, though, and it was an ugly, mangy yellow and it looked like it would fight one of New York's famous rats from the inside out. It was yowling constantly, and seemed to think that the feet of the people coming in and out of the ground-floor coffeeshop were it's food.
It also seemed to have taken a liking to Clint.
He was not okay with this.
After three days of the damned thing trying to make him fall on his face every time he tried to leave the building on foot, and hooking itself to his pants (or, in one painful incident, skin) every time he tried to go inside, Clint gave up.
“How the hell are you not dead yet?” The cat ignored him, but several of the non-fan people walking by the building noticed. Yeah, talking to a cat. This was stupid.
He crouched down, to scratch it behind the ears a moment and then sweep it into the bag he'd brought down in his pocket. The cat didn't like that, but Clint just threw the yowling, squirming sack over his shoulder and threw his best charming grin at anyone who stared.
Once he'd got it up to his 'apartment'—he didn't know anyone who stayed in the tower on the regular, except maybe Banner—and deflected the damn thing's claws of fury, he dumped it in the tub. Clint had bought a gallon jug of cheap vegetable oil that morning, and it was the perfect thing to suffocate the fleas. It was a trick he'd learned back in the circus, mainly because real flea shampoo was expensive but used fry oil was easy to find. He didn't think fresh would make any difference in killing the bugs, but at least it was less disgusting.
By the time the thirty-minute wait was up, he was pretty sure they were coming to a truce, but that broke as soon as he had to scrub the oil out of the thing's fur. By the time he'd mostly towel-dried the kitten, it had gone completely limp; and the only sign that it hadn't passed out was a constant, low hissing.
Clint went out to the main room and sat on the floor, setting the cat in front of him. “You are one ugly sonovabitch, you know that, right? Jesus.” The cat, deciding that letting the stupid human get to it any more was beneath it dignity, only began to give itself a second bath in response. “Right. I should probably get you neutered. Sorry, little buddy.” He reached out to give the kitten an apologetic scratch, but it only batted his hand away. Clint grinned. “Yeah, didn't think you'd like that. Clearly I should take you out to dinner first.” He'd also bought some catfood that morning, because if Clint ever did anything well, it was planning ahead.
Tasha was the first person in the building the next morning, so of course she was the first to know. If Clint hadn't seen it with his own eyes, he'd swear the woman never slept. She certainly wasn't ever fazed by anything.
“Huh. So what are you calling it?” The cat, in the face of the Black Widow herself, had decided to forgive Clint all his past transgressions and hide behind his legs, only peering out in suspicion when it was sure she wasn't looking.
“Seb. For that Moran guy.”
Natasha paused. “You're naming a cat after a Sherlock Holmes villain? A sniper? Isn't that a little...thematic, even for you?”
Clint mock-glared. “Shut up.”