The idea hits you while you’re sunbathing on the roof with Natasha.
“Yeah?” comes the drowsy reply.
“Do you think if I asked Clint to teach me sign language, he’d do it?”
Nat groans as she sits up from where she was lounging to glance at you. “I think that if you asked him out, he would do it. But if you just want him to teach you sign language, yes, I think he would do that too.”
You shoot up from where you were lying to stare at her. “What are you talking about?” She only rolls her eyes and laughs before laying back down. “Nat, I’m serious. What are you talking about?”
Without moving, Nat answers “You always look for him when you enter a room. If he’s there, you practically grin from ear to ear.”
“When Tony or Sam flirt with you, you give as good as you get. When Clint flirts with you, you flirt back, but you’re blushing the whole time. When we go on a road trip, you always make sure you’re in the same car as he is, and you try to find ways to spend time with him, like having him teach you sign language. You like him, stupid.” This last part is said kindly, with a hint of laughter, but that doesn’t stop her words from taking your breath away.
“No, no way. I don’t like Clint. I just think he’s really fun to be around, and he’s really funny, and…” your voice trails off as you see Natasha looking at you. “I do, don’t I?” When she nods at you, you stand up and begin to pace. “How did this happen? How did I not realize it?” When a new thought hits you, you spin on your heel and look at Nat with a horrorstruck expression. “Does Clint know?” As you begin to panic, she stands up and fold up her chair.
“No, he doesn’t. Somehow, Clint is even more clueless than you are. He has no idea.”
You try to ask him, you really do, but every time you begin to ask the question, you either lose your nerve, or get interrupted. Eventually, one day Natasha takes matters into her own hands.
“Hey, Clint, Y/N needs to ask you a question.”
Clint, who was standing at the fridge, turns towards to face you, while you stared at Natasha from your seat at the table. She inclines her head towards him, then walks out of the kitchen with the sandwich she made. You quickly look back at Clint as he comes to sit at the table with a plate of food. “What did you need?”
You take a breath, then spit out “Could you teach me sign language?” He looks surprised for a second, then grins, “You really want me to teach you?” You nod, and his grin grows into a full smile. “Y/N, it would be my genuine pleasure.”
From where she was hiding outside the kitchen door, Nat smiles, and then goes to find Wanda and tell her about the new development.
You quickly become fluent in sign language, and you and Clint sign to each other almost more than you talk. It hadn’t escaped the others’ attention how close the two of you had gotten, and some of the other Avengers continually created chances for you two to be around each other, alone.
Natasha would ask you and Clint to come try some new restaurant with her, and then within ten minutes of being seated, Tony or Wanda would call, and ask her to come help them with something. Nat would demand that you and Clint stay to find out how the restaurant actually was, and then she would leave.
Sam asked Clint to go to the store to pick up some food, and then decided that you needed to go along, to make sure Clint didn’t buy a bunch of extra stuff. His plan actually backfired, and you both came back with Nerf guns, water pistols, and a ton of glitter.
Then Steve decided that you two would work well together on a mission, and paired you up. The first one would be simple enough, they had received intel on an abandoned Hydra facility, and Steve wanted to see if you and Clint partnering up on a mission would actually work. So, you, Clint, and Tony were to search the facility for files, or any important information that may have been left behind.
And that was how you and Clint got to where you are now, getting ready to breach the main building, while Tony secures the surrounding buildings before joining you in the search for files.
You and Clint go through the building, checking every room for hidden Hydra agents or a source of information. You had to hand it to Hydra, without further inspection, everything looked perfectly normal. But as you are about to follow Clint out of one of the rooms, a picture frame that is slightly off-kilter catches your eye. Nothing else in the room is disturbed, so why is that frame crooked, and kind of sticking out from the wall? Calling to Clint to wait for you, you go over, and take the picture frame off of the wall.
Behind it, you find a panel with two buttons, saying Open and Hold. Tentatively, you press the button that says Open. A panel in the wall slides to reveal a small closet, and you step inside. Immediately, you hear an alarm, and look around to see the motion detector that you had set off. You hear a soft hissing sound, and instantly begin struggling to breath. Your throat burning, you stumble out of the hidden room and manage to make it to the door leading to the hallway before collapsing.
Darkness clouding your vision, you hear Clint call your name, and then everything fades.
“Agent Y/N, can you hear me?” Slowly, you open your eyes to see Dr. Cho standing above you. “Ah, good to see you awake.” You try to speak, only to realize that there is a large tube in your throat. Your hands fly to your neck, but your panic is eased as Dr. Cho calmly moves them away while explaining “Your throat was damaged by the gas, and was closing quickly. We had to give a tracheotomy to ensure that if it closed all the way, you were still able to get oxygen. Right now, your throat is completely swollen shut, but the swelling should be down by tomorrow morning. Once the swelling has gone down, we’ll remove the tube, and you’ll only have a sore throat, and my orders to not speak above a whisper for the next few days. I understand you know sign language?”
I know a little bit. Do you know what happened? You sign to her.
She smiles and says, “Unfortunately, I don’t know any sign. But Clint is here, and he has been very anxious to see you. He knows that you shouldn’t be talking right now. Do you feel up to a visit?”
Slowly you nod, then watch as she walks out of the room. As soon as she does, you go against her orders and try to speak despite the tube. Failing miserably, you resign yourself to at least the next few hours of being silent.
When Clint walks into the door, you ask him a question. Where did the gas come from? “The motion detectors sent a signal to some tanks that were built into the walls, which sent out a gas that has a really long name that I’m not even going to try to say. Apparently, if you had pressed the Hold button before stepping into the room, but after opening the door, the gas wouldn’t have been released. Hydra left a booby trap for us to find.”
How did you figure this out? Clint shrugs and says “After I carried you out and onto the quinjet, Stark went back in, and scanned the room. FRIDAY detected the tanks of gas, and after disabling them, Stark basically played with the buttons to figure out what they were for.”
You carried me to the jet? Biting his lip, Clint nods. Thank you. “No problem.” Then, shaking his head, Clint corrects himself. “Actually, you know what? It was a problem. You almost gave me a heart attack. You can’t do that, go looking around without me, and then collapse, not breathing, two feet away from me. You almost died! You almost died, and I couldn’t do anything to help you. Do you know what I would do if you died? I would go crazy! I can’t lose you, Y/N. I love you!”
When he realizes what he said, Clint looks as shocked you feel as hearing his words. He begins to pace around the bed. “I didn’t mean to say that. I mean, I do love you, but you’re in the hospital, and you might not even feel the same way. If you don’t, then that’s okay, we can pretend like the last 30 seconds didn’t really happen, and –” You cut him off by grabbing his hand, and forcing him to stand still.
Clint, I love you too. You slowly sign out every word, making sure he understands that you are serious. He looks at you, shocked, then breaks into a huge smile. “If you didn’t have that ventilator, I would kiss you right now.” I guess you’ll have to wait till later. “Oh, I will. I’ll be waiting anxiously.”