Disclaimer: All characters, etc belong to their respective creators, etc. I am only playing.
New York is Full of Eyries.
After Thor and Loki return to Asgard, Hawkeye and the Black Widow get in one of Stark’s fast cars and drive, in a round-about way to the apartment SHIELD knows Coulson kept for them to fall back to if an assignment didn’t go quite as planned.
They shower, change their clothes and leave the apartment as Agents Romanova and Barton.
A complicated series of short cab and bus rides takes them to another apartment; one Coulson knew about, but SHEILD doesn’t. They shower and change again, order Chinese and eat it watching Sesame Street with the sound off. They leave as Clinton and Natasha.
They parkour their way across town; over roof tops and through alley ways – they’d use the subway and basements, but something makes Clinton stop whenever they head toward one and Natasha doesn’t even want to try to think about it just yet, so they don’t.
The apartment they’re heading for is 15 floors up in a building where the elevator only goes to 12 and most of the tenants tend to ignore each other. It’s almost midnight when they knock on the door.
And Darcy Lewis opens it to Clint and Tasha.
For a second it looks like she might slam the door in their faces.
But she doesn’t.
Darcy pulls them in, wrapping her arms around the pair of them; smelling like chocolate ice-cream and coffee, and holds on until Clint’s knees give out.
Adrenaline, anger and sheer stubbornness can only take a man so far.
And Darcy’s apartment is it.
Darcy strips them down and puts them to bed. She leaves all the lights and the TV on and lets Clint use her chest as a pillow and Tasha grip her hand like it’s a lifeline.
Darcy lives at the very top of the building. It’s freezing in winter and boiling in summer, the only thing behind a door is the toilet and the rent is nearly more than she can afford. But it’s close to the subway and three really good independent coffee shops, there are five or six restaurants that will deliver to the 12th floor and she can use the flat roof top as a balcony. It’s about twice the size of her apartment and Darcy’s managed to fit a table and three chairs, a hammock, a couple of practice mats and a target, waiting to be dotted with arrows.
Clint spends a week sleeping and shivering, unless Tasha or Darcy; when she’s not at work, slides in next to him.
Tasha spends the week next to Clint, watching Darcy’s collection of Disney movies and using the kitchen bench as a barre.
Darcy rushes home from work each day, cajoles the two secret agents into eating, drags Clint out of bed and tries to get him to talk.
Tasha talks about Coulson fanboying over Captain America, Stark fanboying over Dr. Banner and the sari fabric Darcy will have to wait to get.
Darcy tells them about her not-too-bad job, her crappy boss and the homeless guy who thinks he’s The Shadow.
Clint doesn’t say anything.
The second week Darcy finagles some time off work, so she and Tasha can lure Clint out onto the balcony.
They reason that fresh air (by New York standards), sunlight and heights are good for hawks.
Tasha works out with Darcy, teaching her a few new moves, until they’re both red in the face, spread out on the mats and picking out shapes in the clouds.
Clint puts so many arrows in the target; it reminds Darcy of a porcupine.
One night they dye Clint’s hair electric blue, put kohl around his eyes and squeeze him into the tightest pair of leather pants the city has to offer. It doesn’t even come close to the strangest thing he’s ever had to wear.
Darcy leads them to a club so dark, night vision goggles couldn’t help. Until the start of the dancing is announced by music and a lights show that puts Dennō Senshi Porygon to shame.
It’s loud and hot and it’s more people in one place than Clint and Tasha have been around; that weren’t mission involved, in years.
Darcy spends the night calling Tasha, Ladybird, and Clint, Bobby Jean. They call her Glory Be and drink and dance and laugh and get hit on and make out in dark corners and laugh and dance some more.
The three of them stumble out of the club at 4 am, find a French style bakery open and eat chocolate croissants, watching the sun come up.
Clint talks after that; stories about awkward cover id’s and funny things that happened to other agents, he juggles jars of condiments, does all of Darcy’s laundry, answers the door buck naked and paints Darcy’s toenails aubergine and Tasha’s Ironman red. He spars with both of them and teaches Darcy Hawkeye-styled exhibitionism by fucking her on the practice mats.
Tasha and Darcy go with Clint’s flow, waiting for him to even out from the high he’d sling shotted to from the post-Loki low.
Darcy returns to work, breezes through the day and comes home to domestic styled craziness. Tasha cooks simple gets-you-through-a-Siberian-winter dinners and death-by-chocolate desserts. Clint cooks food combinations that most people wouldn’t think of; let alone eating, cleans almost obsessively and watches Antiques Roadshow marathons at two in the morning.
Tasha takes long, hot bubble baths, sings Russian lullabies to Darcy’s glow-in-the-dark rubber duckies, reads her way through Darcy’s pile of smutty novels, and will only listen to music if the band name starts with an F or an M.
Clint claims Darcy’s hammock and borrows her Batman comics. He lists all the similarities between Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne loud enough for Tasha to hear and gets a tan.
Darcy knows everything’s going to be fine (not good or better, because Clint’s still a bit manic and one of his nightmares meant she’d had to wear a scarf whenever she went out, and Tasha can’t get to sleep without holding onto someone’s hand) the day they need her to come home early to talk to the cops. They have a silently agreed to compromise, Darcy doesn’t ask what they did or said to her neighbour’s ex-girlfriend and they don’t ask how she knows get a restraining order.
The neighbour bakes them dark chocolate-macadamia nut-cinnamon brownies and offers his brother’s services to do their taxes for the rest of their lives.
They borrow his car instead and drive, in shifts, up the coast to where an old army buddy of Clint’s has a cabin that only gets used by the buddy’s sister for a couple of weeks late in the summer.
Clint, who acts like he’s always secretly wanted to be a part time nudist, takes the opportunity to even out the tan lines he’d developed on Darcy’s hammock, while Darcy and Tasha walk along the beach, collecting shells and pebbles and pieces of glass, worn smooth by sand and tides.
The pieces go into three jars; one for Tasha’s storage locker, one for Clint’s seldom visited house and one for the box that Darcy keeps under her bed, with all the other memories of their times together.
They sleep all of one day, getting up in time to watch the sunset, then seduce each other in front of the fire, watch the sun rise and sleep away half of the next day.
They visit a nearby town where the annual Spring Fair has collided with a family circus doing an early circuit before the summer rush, and get high on fairy floss.
Darcy and Tasha watch Clint show off, winning them things, heckle the guys running the stalls and turn bright red when one heckles back and calls him Cupid.
They sneak into one of the circus tents and watch Tasha pirouette and turn cartwheels across the tight-rope.
Clint finds a bow and a couple of arrows. He splits one with the other and signs the target with a sprawling, loopy Cupid.
They eat too much carnival food and drink too much cheap beer and Tasha and Clint wear matching smirks every time Darcy gets carded.
They’re happy and relaxed and they know it can’t last.
There are sixteen messages on Darcy’s answering machine. Fifteen wonder ‘where the hell is she?’ and ‘if she doesn’t want to be fired then she’d better be in extra early tomorrow morning, with coffee for everyone and a believable reason for her absence’.
The sixteenth is from Jane. Phil Coulson’s Memorial Service is on Saturday, not that Darcy’s expected to go, but if she wants or needs a lift, Jane and Eric have space in the car they’re going in.
Darcy gets out her best ‘I’m a responsible, respectable adult’ dress from the back of the wardrobe, Clint’s favourite pair of shoes and the plain copper bracelets she’d bought in Puente Antiguo, as a birthday present to herself. They’d been confiscated by SHEILD with everything else in Jane’s lab, but a discrete nudge from Clint had had Coulson returning them personally.
She’ll find a spot somewhere in the back, away from Tasha and Clint, and sit on her hands to stop herself from reaching out to hold theirs, while they say goodbye to their friend.
They go back to the club, back to the darkness and the seizure inducing light show and the deafening music. They drink and don’t laugh. They dance and pretend they aren’t crying. They go home and fight and fuck until sheer physical and mental exhaustion forces them to sleep.
Darcy calls work the next morning; sounding like death warmed up and then left to congeal on the counter overnight, with an excuse about the flu and gets a few more days off. She goes back to bed kind of glad she hasn’t been fired yet. If she’d thought for even half a second Clint and Tasha had been serious, she’d let them play Sugar Mummy and Daddy and take care of her for as long as whatever they have lasts.
But that’s not what they have, and none of them want it to be.
They go dancing one last time. Somewhere fancy, where Darcy’s two years of childhood ‘it’s either ballroom dancing or piano’ lessons are outshone by Clint and Tasha’s years of training. They tango for a while, then tag team Darcy until she begs for mercy on behalf of her poor, aching feet.
They take her home and make other parts of her ache, over and over again.
She wakes mid morning, the only goodbye, the red lipstick on her cheek.
Clinton and Natasha go back to the second apartment and wash away Darcy and her eyrie of an apartment. They leave as Agent’s Barton and Romanova and wait at the SHEILD apartment and Hawkeye and the Black Widow.
At SHEILD it’s doctors and operational psychologists, and debriefings and more questions than answers and no time to themselves and waiting for Saturday.
Where they’ll have seats somewhere near the front and they’ll sit on their hands. So they won’t reach for each other as they say goodbye to their friend.
Thank you to el_gilliath and larantula, who took the time to beta this for me and are wonderful.