Sometimes, Natasha thinks, working for S.H.I.E.L.D. has its advantages – one of the more immediate ones being the privilege of seeing Hawkeye in a tuxedo.
A well-cut, made-to-measure tuxedo.
Clint’s shoulders and upper arms are disproportionately well-developed thanks to his profession; anything you might buy off the rack that fits there, hangs on the rest of him like tent. Not exactly the look to go for when trying to blend in at a reception at Lancaster House.
Especially not at a reception in honour of the Crown Prince of Sharoun, a man whose worth is measured in billions of barrels of crude oil a year.
Still, Maria Hill’s eyebrows had practically disappeared in her hair when Natasha had asked for pre-approval of the expense.
“Yes, but does it have to be Gieves and Hawkes, though?”
“It’s London,” Natasha had shrugged. “People there know Savile Row quality from a Tip Top el cheapo by sight, even on a body like Barton’s. Trust me in this. They’ll spot him as an imposter and throw him out in a flash.”
Maria had given her a lingering look, almost as if she were trying to suss out a hidden agenda.
“Fine. Point made.”
But that hadn’t been all.
“You’re welcome,” Maria had said when she handed the form back to Natasha. And then she’d said one more thing, just as Natasha was leaving her office: “Tell me you won’t let it go to waste.”
Three weeks on, and Natasha is still wondering just what Maria might have meant by those comments, when Clint’s immaculate form appears by her side. He’s been making the rounds, chatting up people, keeping his eyes on their mark as he, in turn, made his way around the room.
Her partner really does clean up nice; someone should send a thank-you note to those Savile Row tailors.
He’s certainly much prettier than the Prince, who has been drooling over her all evening; the only thing that kept his hands by his side were likely his breeding and the presence of people with cell phones and twitter accounts.
Sheikh Abdurrahman bin Mahmoud bin Sultan al-Sharouq has no idea, of course, that the dazzling Nathalie de Romain has taken up her position by his side not because she is charmed by his wealth and personality, but rather to prevent an abrupt and undesirable change in the Sultanate’s succession. (Not to mention preventing an equally abrupt and undesirable loosening of controls over the Sultanate’s ports: the good Sheikh’s brother has major interests in facilitating the trafficking of drugs, arms and people into and through the Gulf.)
Natasha turns to her partner, giving the oblivious Sheikh an apologetic smile when Clint pulls her off to the side with a slightly tipsy gesture.
“All clear,” he says with a grin, stone cold sober. “Baby Brother made the mistake of going to the john with his minion. I think they accidentally swallowed their tongue when they saw the wallpaper.”
He considers what he has just said.
“I mean, seriously. Floral motifs in the guy’s can? Enough to kill even the brightest, most innovative entrepreneurial spirit.”
Natasha is not amused. The gig was supposed to be prevention only – keep the Prince from getting killed if the intel panned out and intervention became necessary, but don’t leave any unexplained corpses.
“What did Fury say about you improvising again? As in, don’t?”
Clint shrugs diffidently; the motion does rather nice things to the way the jacket glides over his vest. (Get a grip, Romanoff, she chides herself. Now is definitely not the time.)
“Turns out Thing Two had a bomb strapped to his chest under that white robe,” he says. “Must have been paid real well, if he was planning on blowing himself up with the Prince. Family obligations, no doubt.”
No doubt he is right; one of the weaknesses of events like this, Natasha knows, is that the guests of honour and their protection squads get to walk around the metal detector. So much for threat assessments.
Clint points with his chin to the marble floor where the band is striking up a waltz, and dozens of well-dressed couples are getting ready to dance. A target-rich environment; Natasha sees his point immediately, and just nods when he proceeds to articulate it.
“He’d have taken any number of people and a good chunk of the masonry with him. So, eh. Fury will get over it, and the Windsors owe us a beer for not having to patch up another of their palaces.”
The Prince is pouting a little now in her direction, feeling left out, and Natasha reaches for the diplomatic juice.
“I’m so sorry, your Highness,” she lilts. “My brother just reminded me that it’s his birthday, and I promised him a dance.”
“Claude de Romain. Pleased to meet you, Your Excellency.”
Clint picks up her thread smoothly, and you’d never know by the gracious tilt of his head that he’s just stuffed two dead bodies into one of the stalls of the Royal Loo. (Knowing him, he probably made their position a compromising one -- to preclude early investigation in the name of diplomatic discretion.)
“My sister is right. She does owe me a dance. I’ll bring her right back.”
And with that smoothest of lies he puts his large, calloused hand on the small of Natasha’s back and steers her to the dance floor.
“You’ll pay for this,” he mouths into her ear. “I hate waltzing.”
Natasha has never been able to figure out just why that would be; he’s good at it, not as good as she is of course, but good. Part of being a natural athlete and a trained acrobat, she figures: if movement is involved, Hawkeye will do it with the utmost grace -- grumping all the way.
The fingers of his right hand lace into her left, and there is the slightest hesitation when he shifts his other hand to the place where the spectacular cut of her dress has left nothing but skin. She shivers a little under his touch, hoping he won’t notice.
The Blue Danube is about as cliché as a waltz can be, but finding herself pulled close to Clint’s hard body is surprisingly new. Feeling the warmth of his fingers pressing into her skin and turning, twirling, gliding over the parquet, surrounded by people who instinctively give them room to move, is exciting in a way Natasha had not expected.
She looks up to find herself staring into those oddly coloured eyes, her body moving seemingly on its own, steered by the slightest pressure from his fingers. Dancing done well is public sex, she remembers someone saying once. (Who? Doesn’t matter. Truth is truth.)
Damn. The word almost leaves her lips – in Russian, but Clint speaks the language well enough that he would have asked.
She doesn’t argue when the music stops and he says, “Time to blow this pop stand.”
Of course, the irony strikes him immediately, and he clarifies unnecessarily, ”I mean, time to leave.”
They hail a cab in the Mall, and Clint is enough of a gentleman to hold the door open and lift the long skirt of her dress to avoid it rubbing against the dirty side of the car.
For the briefest of moments, Natasha can feel his eyes burning marks into the skin exposed by the backless gown. It feels good, and she leans forward a little more than necessary in her seat when adjusting the voluminous fabric, just to see how he’ll react.
As it turns out, he forgets to duck when he gets into the cab, and bangs his head hard enough that his left hearing aid falls out. Clint curses and tries to put the aid back in, while Natasha directs the cabbie to the safe house in Marylebone.
The place is one of Natasha’s favourites, walking distance from fabulous croissants and lattes. But it is tiny; real estate prices in London are beyond ridiculous, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s property department has no sense of humour about money. Clint’s eyes slide over the lone double bed, and he eyes the couch where he’d spent the previous few nights with undisguised loathing.
Natasha flings the keys down on the credenza by the door and heads for the fridge. Proximity to an Oddbins is another perk of the place, and the Pinot Gris she had left to chill is now perfect. She walks up to him and holds out the bottle.
“Let’s drink to a mission where neither of us needs to be patched up for a change,” she says. “Here, open this.”
Clint doesn’t argue with her, seemingly happy to have something to do that doesn’t involve looking at his partner, and rummages through the kitchenette for a corkscrew. There’s a short curse.
“Fucking gizmos,” he spits, and then, “Hey listen, I’m taking the aids out. Left one won’t stay in. ‘Kay?”
She answers in the affirmative, not sure whether Clint can still hear her, but knowing he doesn’t really need to. Natasha is one of a very small number of people – three, to be exact – in whose presence Clint feels comfortable without his hearing.
“Guess we can congratulate ourselves,” he says as he comes back into the main part of the apartment, a glass in each hand. “What would geopolitics look like without us, huh? A cheap version of Dallas.”
She nods, but rather absently. That tuxedo really does paint a pretty picture – smooth black fabric framing strong, straight shoulders; perfect taper to the waist; trousers accentuating a pair of nicely shaped, powerful legs … Of course, the whole thing is helped by that loose bearing and those unconsciously graceful moves that are so uniquely Clint.
And just like that, Natasha knows what she wants And just like that, all the rationalizations of the last few months (years?), why wanting it would be wrong, why she didn’t deserve it, why she couldn’t have it (him) -- all that recedes into the background.
She takes the proffered glass and raises it slightly, waiting for him to clink his against it. The sound is pretty and clean; it’s a pity he can’t hear it.
But he can read her lips. She turns to face him.
“Not sure whether this was about geopolitics,” she says. “The guy may have been a prince and second in line to be Sultan, but basically he’s just a criminal with a big bank account and a three-hundred-year-old name.”
Clint nods, but she can tell that he has lost interest in the conversation. Now that she is in front of him, his eyes glide over her dress again, stuttering to a halt at the deeply cut décolleté.
Natasha pulls her shoulders back a little to give him a better view. It’s not something she has done before in Clint’s presence – not for his benefit, anyway -- and his reaction is gratifying: The tip of his tongue appears briefly to wet his lips, and then he seeks urgent refuge in his glass.
It’s odd that she has never noticed it before, that effect she has – can have – on her partner. The realization is akin to an electric shock, and it leaves her buzzing. She makes a decision – and being as she is the Black Widow, decides to action it without further delay.
The good news is that she is still in her heels, and doesn’t have to go up on her toes to whisper in his ear what she suddenly understands to be the truth:
“I want you, too.”
Clint stills at the warm air tickling his ear, takes a sharp breath, and looks mildly annoyed.
“Talk about criminal. Whispering stuff in my ear when you know I can’t hear? I’m sure there’s something in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Staff Relations Manual about making fun of the recently disabled.”
Well, that didn’t work, even though he sounds a little breathless, almost as if he was hoping he’d understood what she said, in case it was what he wanted to hear. Or else, maybe she should have just stuck her tongue in his ear?
Natasha takes the glass out of his hand and sets both his and hers down on the coffee table. She touches her hand first to his mouth, then to hers, to make sure she has his full and undivided attention.
“Then read my lips,” she says, glad that he won’t be able to hear the small, nervous crack in her voice that has never been there before. “Clint? I think we should fuck. We’ve wasted enough time.”
The effect of her words is not what she expected – not that she’d given any thought to what to expect. He inhales sharply and, to all intents and purposes, freezes.
But silence is not a no, and so Natasha musters her courage and steps into his personal space, sliding her hands up the smooth fabric of his jacket, to the top of those delectable shoulders. She hesitates briefly before circling his neck and, thumbs on either side of his strong jaw, running the tips of her fingers along the side of his face.
“Well?” she manages, unaccountably nervous all of a sudden. “What do you say, partner?”
His answer comes in a breath that is almost a sob. His mouth devours the words almost before they have left her lips – eager, hungry, demanding, and not in the least bit gentle. Her lips open almost involuntarily and a small moan escapes her at the first touching of their tongues.
Clint’s hands, meanwhile, roam her back in long, firm strokes, exploring the strength of her muscles and the curve of her shoulder blades before dipping under the straps that hold it in place. She raises her arms slightly in tacit permission, running her fingers through his surprisingly soft hair as she does so.
Natasha can feel the straps sliding off her shoulders, and a sudden rush of cool air on her breasts as they are freed from their silken confinement. She wiggles her arms free and the dress drops down, the impossibility of wearing a bra underneath now leaving her fully exposed.
Her nipples harden almost instantly under his gaze, almost unbearably so when his hands cup her breasts in a gesture that almost resembles a claim. His thumbs give one, two rough strokes before his mouth follows, latching on to first one, then the other of her nipples and sweeping his tongue over the hard nub. Again, and for a moment, Natasha thinks she could come from this sensation alone.
But she wants more.
Clint is still fully dressed, although the fabric of his trousers is straining a little already. He starts tugging on his jacket, but Natasha stills his hand. Instead, she reaches behind her back to make quick work of the zipper. She allows the dress to pool at her feet for a moment before stepping out of it and away from him, aware of the hunger and undisguised admiration in his eyes.
She raises her hands to her head and slowly turns under his burning gaze. (Maybe this is why she had chosen a garter and stockings tonight – out of some kind of foresight she didn’t know she possessed? But whether conscious or not, the decision was clearly the right one.) His breath is coming short and heavy now, and Natasha can feel her center heating in response
“Yours,” she says, surprising herself by just how much she means it.
Clint doesn’t hesitate. He takes the three, four steps he needs to get past the discarded dress; the kiss he gives her is slow, tender and demanding all at once, and for a moment Natasha feels as if she might melt, or burn.
His hands grip her hips, then hook into her panties. He pulls them down over the garter, slowly and meticulously so as not to disturb the stocking clips, then down her legs as he sinks to his knees before her. A moment later, and his fingers are running up the inside of her thighs, reaching for her, parting and stroking her; she can feel the wetness start to surge, feels more than hears the appreciative hum he gives in response.
Natasha is not quite sure what she expected by opening herself up to her partner as she did, but all thoughts fly out of her mind when his mouth closes on her cunt. She manages – barely -- to step out of her panties with one foot and to steady herself a little by burying her hands in his hair.
She lifts one of her legs, setting the heel on his shoulder to give him better access, feels his hands gripping her ass in response, and then her world narrows to the feeling of his tongue on her clit, in her folds. She can feel Clint’s hard, calloused fingers spreading her cheeks wide, wider, gripping tightly, stroking and intruding -- even as his tongue burrows ever deeper into her core. He is relentless, determined to take what she offered, and giving more than she had thought possible in return.
She screams his name.
Clint can’t hear her, of course, but surely he feels the shudder rippling through her body as her climax takes her. His grip on her tightens and somehow she manages to stay upright (on one stiletto’d foot, no less). Natasha slowly brings her leg back down to the ground, keeping her feet apart to feel the cool air on her wetness and heat. She reaches for Clint’s chin -- dripping with that same wetness, a mixture of his saliva and her juices – and lifts it to get his attention.
She shapes the words with her mouth, without giving them her voice.
“Let me look at you now.”
There’s a small, satisfied smirk playing around Clint’s mouth as he nods, and suddenly Natasha wants nothing more than wipe it off his face.
“Take off your jacket,” she says, conscious of his eyes licking the words off her lips even as he wets his own with his tongue. He obliges quickly, but it is clear from the cautious way he moves that his cock must be painfully hard inside those beautifully fitted pants.
Natasha reaches out and runs her hand across the tempting bulge, a little roughly, and grips it tightly. Yes, a little dampness there already. Good.
Clint groans under the assault but stands very still, obviously content to let her take the lead in this round. She takes his mouth with hers to reward him for the unexpected patience, and starts working the buttons of his vest. Sliding it off his shoulders gives her a welcome opportunity to run her hands across his chest; if he appreciated hers earlier, the feeling is entirely reciprocal.
Well-formed, hard pecs, nipples like small marbles – all perfectly traceable through the smooth fabric of his dress shirt. (Yes, Maria, it had to be Gieves & Hawkes…) One by one the buttons fall away under her nimble fingers, exposing smooth skin, a fine criss-cross of scars, and just the right dusting of hair.
Natasha’s efforts at getting the shirt off so she can truly appreciate Clint’s fine chest are momentarily thwarted by the bow tie. It’s not one of those cheap clip-ons you can just rip off, of course. Clint’s eyes widen momentarily as she reaches for the small stiletto that’s still attached to her garter, watching the blade approach his throat as she unceremoniously cuts off the tie.
“Hey, that thing was worth about thirty quid,” he protests.
“It was forty quid worth of in the way,” Natasha replies, and removes his shirt, not really caring whether he was able to read her lips this time. Clint doesn’t seem to care too deeply anyway, and seems perfectly content with the attention she momentarily lavishes on his now-exposed chest.
But the silence doesn’t last long.
“Pants? Please?” he almost whimpers after a minute or so. “Seriously, you’re doing things to my manhood that we may both come to regret. Ouch.”
The reason for his discomfort is perfectly clear when she relents and opens the zipper, freeing the most beautiful cock she has seen in a very long time. Thick and veined, just like his arms and hands, curved just so, the tip glistening… Natasha allows a small appreciative hum to escape her lips.
“Bed,” she orders. “Now. On your back, legs spread.”
Clint steps gracefully out of his pants and boxers, and heads over to the double bed, managing to lose his shoes and socks in the process, gloriously naked now, and – gratifyingly – follows her instructions to a tee. (Who knew that sex would be the one thing where Hawkeye doesn’t bother to argue?)
Natasha kneels over him, exposing her cunt to his view – but not to his mouth. Her command that he can “Look, but don’t touch!” elicits a small, futile protest that ends when she fastens her lips around his cock.
She runs her tongue around the tip and up and down the thick, hard shaft for what seems like an eternity, kneading his balls with one hand. Occasionally she slides the other behind them, exploring that space as he had done for her and causing Clint to groan and buck into her mouth. His hands scrabble for purchase, grabbing and digging into the sheets as if he were holding on for dear life.
It’s exhilarating, the power she wields over this trained, hard body that is twitching below hers, almost at her mercy. Natasha finds herself getting wet again, wanting to feel that hardness – taking it for herself.
She pulls away and turns around when Clint’s movements get more and more frantic and he starts thrusting wildly into her mouth. They know each other well enough to know they are both clean and that other considerations don’t apply, so no point wasting time and momentum looking for the unnecessary.
Natasha positions herself above his dripping cock, and for a moment they look into each other’s eyes.
She sinks down on him; one thrust on his part and he fills her deeply and fully -- she should have known the passivity wouldn’t last, once she gave permission. Another thrust, and a moan escapes her lips. This one he sees her make but she doesn’t care, wants him to know what he is doing to her, for her.
The heat builds up inside her like a wave with each thrust he makes. She tightens around him, wanting to feel and take every last bit of his power as he pumps into her, wanting him …
His voice as his release pulses inside her is a whisper and a plea, and echoes in her ears as she follows him down.
Clint’s gallant offer to sleep on the couch is obviously insincere, and so Natasha does not dignify it with a response. Exploring all that skin, sinew and muscle with her hands is far too much fun, after far too many years of looking and pretending she didn’t see; luckily, he seems to feel the same way. Besides, he is warm, and London is cold and damp.
“Why did we waste all that time again?” he asks after his nimble fingers have brought her to yet another – gentler, but nonetheless exhilarating -- climax.
“I don’t know,” Natasha whispers, her face over his so he can see her lips. Her hair is tickling his neck, raising goose bumps on his shoulders and arms.
“But I’ll tell Maria that we did not waste that tux.”