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Brown Paper Packages

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Once they'd bugged their target's apartment, Natasha broke into the apartment next door, so they'd at least have a comfortable sofa to lounge on while they listened to this guy betray himself and his country.

Natasha poked in the neighbour's refrigerator, only to find it sadly lacking in comestibles. "We should have picked up lunch before we got here," she said.

Clint sat upright on the sofa suddenly, and the headphones slipped from his head. Natasha reached for her gun, but Clint waved his hands at her.

"No, it's cool. I just remembered something." He reached into his duffel and pulled out a paper bag. "Laura made me lunch before I left." He put the bag on the coffee table and stared at it.

Natasha approached the coffee table and crouched down so that her eyes were level with the bag. "Wow," she said in wonder. She met Clint's eyes, relieved to see he was as perplexed as her. Neither of them really came from lunch-making people.

"I know, right?" said Clint. "I don't know what this means. Are we, like, engaged now? Are we going steady?" This thing with Laura was very new.

Natasha knew what went into a packed lunch, of course. In theory, anyway: you don't pack a lot of lunches when you're a spy, even on undercover ops. It was just odd to imagine packing one for herself or someone she cared about. MREs and ration packs were different. This paper bag was an unknown.

Clint's stomach rumbled, and Natasha's answered. She reached out with a finger to push the bag in Clint's direction. "Open it," she said. "Maybe it's good?"

Clint unrolled the top of the bag with all the trepidation of a man defusing a bomb. They both peered inside: wrapped sandwiches, an orange, and a hefty square of something that looked and smelled like a brownie.

Their eyes met over the top of the paper bag.

"Dibs on the brownie," said Natasha, before Clint could speak.

Clint snatched the bag to his chest possessively. "Hey, this is mine. You go get your own lunch-making girlfriend."

Natasha laughed, because Laura had scrawled on the bottom of the bag in felt tip. "Play nice and share this with Tash!" it said in cheerful round letters. "I love her too."

"Looks like I do have my own lunch-making girlfriend," Natasha said, and snatched the bag from Clint's grasp. She broke the brownie in two fairly even pieces, and then, because she loved him, she passed the biggest piece back to Clint. They sat on the sofa with their feet on the table, and together they took their first bite of domesticity. It was delicious.