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Laid Bare

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Laid Bare

"All right, Agent Barton. You’ve convinced Director Fury," Coulson said as he stepped back into his office. "You are to fly to Moscow and make contact with Agent Romanoff. Provide assistance with her mission if she deems it necessary."

Swallowing a sigh of relief, Clint picked up the black folder Coulson slid across the desk to him. Natasha was in trouble. Well, she might be in trouble. She had been undercover in Moscow for the last month and a half, and she hadn’t made contact with S.H.I.E.L.D. in the last two weeks. So she might be in trouble, but no one really knew, and Clint wasn’t going to take any chances. This was Natasha, and Clint never fucked around when her safety was on the line.

"That is your identity," Coulson continued, sitting with his usual precision of movement. "You are Alex Reynolds, the son of an American oil baron, and you are in Moscow for a series of meetings with a Russian petroleum company. This will leave your evenings free to visit The Pigalle, the club where Agent Romanoff is working undercover. Your flight leaves tomorrow morning."

Clint unwound the tie closure, and a passport and an American Express Centurion card fell into his hand.

"Don't charge too much to that card, Barton," Coulson warned. "I don't want Accounting on my ass."

"Understood, sir," Clint replied with a faint smirk, sliding the passport and credit card back into the envelope.


Natasha was nowhere to be seen. Clint decided to take a seat at the bar where he could keep an eye on its elaborate, wrought iron staircase. If she was here, she certainly wasn't on the first floor. As he sipped the incredibly overpriced Irish whiskey, he was glad S.H.I.E.L.D. was taking care of the expenses though he knew there would be a few angry emails from Coulson once Accounting saw the bill. He continued scanning the room for Natasha's face. Places like this made him uncomfortable -- everyone looked a little too perfect to be believed, and the goddamn techno music was already giving him a headache. If he had a choice, Clint would much rather be drinking at some dive with 70s rock on the jukebox.

Something white caught his eye on the second floor balcony. He looked up and choked a little on his drink when he saw Natasha in a skimpy white dress leaning against the railing. She swayed her hips in time with the downtempo song that had started playing. The dress dipped so low in the front that he could see the pale skin of her stomach. This looked nothing like the Natasha he knew, but Clint wasn't complaining.

Their eyes met, and he could see the shock on Natasha's face as she stepped away from the railing. A moment later, she was coming down the staircase faster than he imagined anyone could move in those shoes. He quickly downed the rest of the whiskey because he knew he was going to need some liquid courage.

"Just what the hell are you doing here?" she hissed at him and dragged him over to the dark corner beside the bar, slamming him up against the wall with enough force to make his teeth click.

"Making sure you aren't dead. You haven't reported in in two weeks," he said, determinedly keeping his eyes on her face and not on her cleavage. "That isn't like you."

"Goddammit, I've been getting my in with the mark. You can't be here."

Natasha glanced over her shoulder and then back to Clint. From her expression, he knew she was rethinking her plans.


The hard look in her eyes flickered for a moment at the nickname. "Follow me upstairs. I have an idea."

Not wanting to lose sight of her, Clint followed close behind Natasha as they made their way through the crowd and up to the second floor. She said something in Russian to the two large bouncers at the top of the stairs and they allowed the two of them to pass. Natasha found an empty private booth where she made him sit.

"Stay here until I come back and don't follow me. This guy isn't going to do anything stupid in the middle of a club," she told him.

Clint put his hands up defensively.

"I'm serious. Give me a half hour. He usually doesn't stay past midnight," she said and disappeared again.

Clint settled back on the red velvet couch in an attempt to make himself comfortable, watching the booths to see where Natasha was going. His instincts told him to just follow her, but he had no intention of blowing her cover, so he waited. Directly across from where he was seated, he saw her slip back into a booth where a guy he assumed was the mark was seated along with a couple members of his entourage. Clint leaned forward to see what was going on in the booth. Natasha was all smiles and hair flipping with the mark, seated upon his lap like the best trophy wife a rich man could ask for. He would be lying if he said this wasn't bothering him.

Natasha leaned into the mark, letting him say something in her ear before throwing her head back as she laughed, the dark red ringlets of her hair cascading down her bare back. He watched as she toyed with the lapels of the mark's expensive suit and stroked his hair. Clint really needed another drink.

Clint watched as Natasha began to rock in the man's lap. It took his brain a moment to process the fact that his partner was, more or less, giving the mark a lap dance. She straddled his lap, obscuring what she was doing from Clint's view, and gyrated against him. He could see the mark's large hands move up her back, and Clint suppressed the urge to take out the gun he had strapped to his ankle and shoot the bastard. Natasha turned in his lap, leaning back so that her head was almost resting on the mark's shoulder as she continued to undulate in his lap.

Clint felt his pulse racing and had to undo the first two buttons of his shirt. He wanted to look away because seeing Natasha being manhandled like this was driving him crazy, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the way her body moved. There wasn't anything that he would have given up just to trade places with the mark to feel the warmth of her soft skin that she usually kept covered.

After what felt like an eternity, the mark and his friends rose to leave. He handed something to Natasha and kissed her cheek before exiting the booth. She remained there for a few moments before leaving. Clint watched the mark and his entourage as they left the club and didn't notice that Natasha had come into the booth until she stepped up beside him.

"What's your cover again?" he asked, trying to sound like he was making a joke.

"Natalya Yashova, twenty-three year old model and dancer," she answered, her Russian and American accents changing seamlessly as she spoke. "Where did S.H.I.E.LD. put you up?"

"The Lotte Hotel."

"Alright. Meet me on the corner in ten," she said and left once more.

Clint headed outside, glad to inhale some fresh air again, and walked to the corner while he waited. He leaned against the stone building, idly thumbing through the messages on his cell phone as a steady crowd of people passed him. From the corner of his eye, he saw a heavily bundled figure step up beside him and glanced over to see Natasha in a heavy coat and scarf wrapped around her hair. She put an arm around his waist and used her free arm to wave down a taxi. Clint opened the door for her, allowing her to get into the car before he sat beside her. His Russian was pretty bad, but he could figure out she was telling the driver the name of the hotel.

They kept quiet until they had reached their destination and gone inside the building. In the elevator, Natasha removed the grey Pashmina scarf and tucked it into her purse.

"They didn't need to send you. I can handle myself," Natasha said as they stepped out of the elevator.

"Well, they wanted to make sure you hadn't disappeared," he answered, and it was pretty much the truth – except for the part where he had insisted on going to find her. Minor detail.

The moment they were inside Clint's hotel room, Natasha took his phone and called Coulson. A few short words were exchanged before she set the mobile on the desk. She shrugged off the heavy coat, still wearing the revealing white dress from the club. Clint stared intently at the cell phone.

"Sir, I'm close to wrapping up this case on my own. Barton didn't need to come check on me," Natasha said, hands planted firmly on her hips.

"I sent Barton as backup. You have one week to find the location of Anatoli Markovic's weapons factory," Coulson said over the speaker. "I trust you to do this neatly."

Natasha shifted, clearly biting back what she wanted to say, and looked at Clint. He cleared his throat before answering Coulson, "Of course, sir."

The other end of the line clicked off and Natasha's eyes narrowed for a second before she moved over to the window, arms folded in front of her. Clint sighed and removed his overcoat as well as the light-colored suit jacket he had been wearing beneath it. He draped them over the back of the desk chair and looked at his partner. Her shoulders were drawn up and tense, and she was deadly quiet. His eyes slipped lower, taking in the long line of her back that was exposed, and his hands itched to touch her.

Based on a few brief experiences in their past, Clint knew just how smooth her skin was there and everywhere else, for that matter. They had agreed to not let it get in the way of work, but seeing her at that club had brought up a whole bunch of feelings he wished were still tamped down.

Clint stepped up behind her with the honorable intention of talking to her, but instead reached out to satisfy the urge to feel her skin against his hand. Before he knew it, Natasha had him on his knees with his arm twisted up above his head. She could easily break his arm or pull it out of its socket in this position, so he kept still and stared up at her. Something flashed through the angry look in her eyes, and her breathing changed noticeably.

"God-fucking-dammit, Barton," she cursed and yanked him up by the shirt, pressing her mouth to his.

It took Clint a fraction of a second for his mind to catch up to what his body was doing. He wrapped his arms around Natasha's tiny waist, pushing her back against the window. She gasped at the cold glass against her bare back, breaking the kiss for a moment. Her arms tightened around his shoulders and urged him back to her mouth.

"This dress is ridiculous, Agent Romanoff," he said, skimming one hand along the plunging neckline of the gown. Her stomach muscles retracted beneath his touch; it never failed to amuse Clint that a woman who could kill him with her bare hands was ticklish.

"You didn't seem to mind back at the club when you were staring at me, Agent Barton," she replied as she removed his tie.

Natasha quickly undid the buttons on his shirt, making him take the rest off by himself. She made an audible sound of frustration when she found the white undershirt underneath it.

"Impatient, aren't we?" he said with a grin.

"Just take off your shirt."

The t-shirt quickly joined his button-down at their feet, and Natasha bit her lower lip, failing at covering up her smile. His left hand slipped beneath the white material of her dress but caught on something just before he could reach her breast. He looked closer see what was in the way and saw the fabric had been adhered to her skin. Sighing, Natasha reached in and pulled away a piece of something that looked like double-sided tape.

"I wasn't about to expose that much of myself to the club," she huffed and removed the other piece of tape, sticking them to the wall. "As you were."

Clint grinned at her before leaning in for another kiss. Beneath the palm of his hand, Natasha's breasts were soft and felt cooler than his own skin. She gasped against his mouth as his fingers gently pinched one nipple to hardness, and he bit down on her lower lip. One leg hitched up around his hip, pressing his dick up against her. Despite the layers of fabric between them, he could swear he felt how wet she was. Clint abandoned her mouth to lick at her perfectly round breasts. Natasha cried out when his lips closed over the already sensitive nipple, sucking it into his mouth. His other hand toyed with her other breast, kneading gently. He felt her steady herself with one hand on his shoulder as he moved to the other side, repeating the same ministrations.

As much as he loved Natasha's breasts, there was something else that he liked doing to her even more than touching them. Sinking to his knees, he pushed up the hem of her dress and found a lacy thong that almost matched her skin perfectly in color; they were already soaked through and clinging to her body. The scent of her was heady and intoxicating, drawing him in. He didn't bother removing them, choosing to lick her through the lace instead. She tasted just as good as she smelled, slightly sweet against his tongue. A loud moan escaped her and he flicked his eyes up to see her face. He couldn't believe how she looked - the white dress pushed aside to reveal her perfectly round breasts as her back arched. Her eyes were closed tightly while her slightly swollen mouth was slack, letting all those delicious little pants and gasps escape.

Clint continued to lick at her and could feel himself straining against the briefs he wore. He reached down to undo his pants with one hand while the other held Natasha in place. She rolled her hips against him, groaning loudly. He managed to get his pants down around his knees and slipped his hand beneath the material, closing his fingers around his already hard cock. Natasha's fingers gripped at his hair and urged him closer. He tore himself away just long enough to ask what she wanted him to do.

"Want... want," she panted, one hand coming up to squeeze her own breast, "want you inside."

All the blood nearly drained from his head and in one swift movement, Clint was back on his feet. He hastily pushed his briefs down and hiked her leg up around him again. Not bothering to remove her underwear, Clint tugged the material to one side and sank into her warmth. She dug her fingers into his back as he pounded up into her body. The sounds coming from her were increasingly strained, no longer resembling real words. He shifted her so that her shoulders were pressed back against the glass and the rest of her body angled down slightly. The slight change in position was enough to make her cry out when he thrust back inside. Her pussy contracted around him faintly, and he knew she had to be close. He bowed his head until his forehead touched her shoulder.

"Fuck, I missed this," he panted against her sweat-damp skin. Clint kissed his way up to her ear and whispered to her, "Want you to come for me."

Natasha whimpered, digging her fingers deeper into his skin. He was sure she would draw blood at this rate, but he didn't give a damn. His hand slipped between their bodies, fingers immediately finding her clit, and began to stroke. He circled his middle finger around the swollen nub, and her whimpering grew higher and higher until she was keening. Tilting his head, he bit down hard on the tendon in her neck, almost enough to break the skin, and she was gone. Natasha's body gripped his cock tightly as she came while the rest of her body shuddered and clung to him desperately. Clint loved making her come so hard that she could barely keep herself upright. He braced his forearm against the freezing cold window, his other hand grasping her hip tightly, and drove up into her body with quick thrusts.

Clint felt the pressure at the base of his spine nearing a its breaking point. His movements grew erratic, and his hold on her slipped more than once. With a frustrated growl, he buried his face in Natasha's neck and thrust roughly into her, coming with a sharp yell. Shuddering, he wrapped his arm around her waist and took a moment to collect himself.

When they both had regained control of her bodies, Clint carefully removed Natasha's clothing and shoes before putting her to bed, and pulled the covers up over the two of them. She smiled softly at him, looking exhausted. He reached up to touch her cheek and she leaned into his palm.

"I'm sorry for the radio silence," she said, voice rough.

Clint only nodded and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Natasha tried to protest and sit up. "I should get back to the apartment."

"You can stay for the night," he insisted, holding her close.

Natasha tucked her head under his chin with a sigh. "Just make sure I'm out before noon, okay?"

"Deal," Clint said, kissing her hair, and closed his eyes.


Natasha wasn't in bed when Clint woke the next morning. He sat up, looking around the room for a moment before he noticed the sound of water running. A shower sounded like a great way to start his day. He flung off the covers and headed into the steam-filled bathroom to greet his partner, who was busy massaging shampoo into her long red hair.

"Morning," he said, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind. "Save any hot water for me?"

"Depends," Natasha answered and leaned forward to let the water rinse the suds from her hair. She looked over her shoulder at him, a smirk playing her lips. "How long are we going to be in here?"

Clint grinned. "I love the way you think."

With one hand, Clint swept her wet hair over her right shoulder, leaving her neck exposed for this mouth. He licked a path along her shoulder that raised a full body shudder from Natasha. Her skin was cool and slippery beneath his tongue, the faint sour taste from the soap and shampoo still lingering. He kissed along the column of her pale throat until his mouth found her ear. Natasha whimpered quietly as he traced the shell of her ear with his tongue. His left hand slid down the flat stomach and stopped at the juncture of her thighs where he found that she was slick and ready for him.

"God, Tash, you're so fucking wet," he purred in her ear and curled two digits up inside of her warmth, forcing a gasp from her.

Natasha dropped her head back on his shoulder as he fucked her with his fingers. He seized the opportunity and kissed her roughly, nipping at her lower lip with his teeth. Groaning, Natasha rocked her hips in time with his fingers. His cock was hard against her ass and each roll of her hips was driving him crazy. She reached back, hooking her arm around his neck with a frustrated groan.

"More," she begged, desperately fucking herself on his fingers and panting roughly.

Clint plunged a third finger into her pussy and was rewarded with a loud mewl of pleasure from Natasha's mouth. Her body shook beneath him as she bucked her hips against his hand. He grazed his teeth over the pulse in her throat, teasing the sensitive area, and then crooked the fingers he had buried inside of her. Natasha's cry echoed off the bathroom walls, and he could feel her body gripping at his fingers tightly. The muscles fluttered around them as she buried her face in his neck, each breath labored and cool against his wet skin.

Removing his hand, Clint wrapped both arms around her tightly and let her come down. He bent his head to lay a kiss on her shoulder before resting his chin there. It didn't take long for Natasha to come back around. She hummed with satisfaction and turned around in his arms with a devious grin on her face.

"Your turn."

Standing on her tiptoes, she pressed her body against his, sucking on his lower lip. But just when the kiss was getting really good, when he had wrapped his hands around her hips, she slipped away. Her grin turned even more devilish at the pathetic noise he made.

Licking her lips, she started slipping and sliding down him, her wet body undulating against his. He couldn't help thinking about the lap dance she had given Markovic in the club, and he definitely couldn't help thinking that this was much, much better.

Her hands were splayed across his chest, and they traced a hot path down his ribs, followed by her even hotter mouth. Clint staggered back a little when her lips closed around his nipple. Luckily the glass wall was there to keep him from falling flat on his ass, and he leaned against it, grateful for its support.

Natasha tongued his nipple, teasing until it was aching and hard before switching to the other one, giving it the same delicious treatment. Giving it one last nip, she caught his eyes and slid down his body, her tongue tracing a ticklish path down the center of his stomach. She nudged his legs a little farther apart, her breasts pressed against his thighs, so she could kneel between his feet.

"Oh god, please tell me you're going to give me a blowjob," he groaned, smoothing her wet hair back from her face.

"Why else would I be down here?" she teased.

Framing his hips with her hands, she licked his cock from base to tip, then swallowed him down. Clint's legs went weak at the feel of her hot mouth wrapped around his cock, one hand holding his erection steady and the other snaking between his legs to grip his ass. He had to close his eyes, because if he were to watch her sucking him off, this whole thing would be over embarrassingly quickly.

It would probably be over embarrassingly quickly anyway, because Natasha could do things with her tongue that would lead a saint to a life of sin.

She curved her tongue around his cock, carefully taking in a little bit more with each downstroke, until her nose was nearly pressed against his groin. Pausing there, she swallowed, her throat fluttering around the head of his cock, and Clint made a noise that would probably best be classified as a whimper.

Drawing back slowly, Natasha took a couple of deep breaths and started a steady rhythm that threatened to bring him to his knees, her mouth and hand stroking together until he was shaking, straining up onto his toes with his hands fisted in her hair. He tried not to pull, but she didn't seem to mind. Her hand on his ass urged him to thrust, and he lost himself in the wet heat of her mouth.

He opened his eyes and looked down his own body to find her gazing up at him, her lips stretched around his cock. She slid her hand forward and cupped his balls, and he was gone.

"Fuck!" he shouted.

Clint tried to pull out of her mouth, but she held on, lapping at the underside of his cock, and the first spasm of a mind-blowing orgasm ripped through him. She sucked and swallowed, pressing his hips back against the wall, riding out his climax until he was a trembling mess of a man.

Natasha gave him one last suck and let his softening cock slip out of her mouth, licking a drop of his come from her lips. His legs finally gave out, and he slid down the wall. "Jesus Christ, Natasha," he groaned. "You... you are very good at that."

She grinned at him proudly, sliding into his lap in one fluid motion and snaking her arms around his neck, pulling him into a kiss. Clint wrapped his arms around her slick body and licked the taste of himself out of her mouth. Her sharp teeth tugged at his lower lip before she pulled herself away from him.

"I should go," she said, rising and stepping toward the towel rack.

As much as Clint didn't want her to leave, she still had a cover to maintain and they both had a job to finish. He grabbed the shampoo from the shelf to his left and scrubbed it into his scalp. The water rinsed away the soap and he heard Natasha swear from the other side of the half wall. Clint wiped the water away from his eyes before looking around the partition to see what was wrong. Natasha was inspecting herself in the large mirror above the vanity.

"What?" he asked.

"Did you see this mark you left?" she replied, pointing to the very noticeable purple mark on her throat. "I don't have anything to cover this for tonight."

Clint shut off the water and grabbed a towel to wrap around his waist. "Stop by the pharmacy," he told her with a shrug.

Natasha turned away from him, grumbling to herself. And yeah, Clint understood why she was pissed off, but he didn't think it was all that serious. He still felt the need to apologize and came up behind her, putting his arms around her waist. She stiffened, refusing to meet his gaze in the mirror.

"Sorry," he said and kissed her bare shoulder.

She looked up with the barest hint of a smile on her face. "Stop making the puppy face at me. I'm not mad," she sighed.

Clint smiled and kissed her cheek. "I'll give you some clothes to wear back to the apartment."


Luckily, Clint had remembered to pack an extra pair of track pants in his bag. He found a grey t-shirt that he set beside the pants and pulled on a pair of boxers, letting the towel drop to the floor. Natasha walked out of the bathroom a couple seconds later, completely naked, and Clint couldn't help but stare. It was ridiculous given how many times he had seen her naked--in sexual situations and otherwise--but she really was stunning. As if able to read his thoughts – or maybe just the way he was staring at her – Natasha rolled her eyes and pulled the clothes on. Since the pants were a couple inches too long on her, she rolled up the waistband until they were suited to her inseam. She looked a little silly in the clothes, but Clint liked that she was wearing them. He watched her fish out a pair of flat shoes from her bag and slip them on. The discarded clothes from last night went into the bag and she bundled herself up in her black coat and grey scarf.

Being the gentleman that he sometimes pretended to be, Clint walked her out to the elevator. He leaned down and planted a quick, chaste kiss on her lips just as the doors opened.

"Call me when you get back?" he asked. "Don't want you disappearing on me again."

He was only half kidding.

Natasha smiled and pulled him back for another kiss. "I don't need you chasing me again."

"Yeah, well, I'm going to do that anyway."

"I know," she said fondly and stepped into the elevator.

Clint waited until the doors closed between them to go back to his room. He leaned back against the closed door with a quiet sigh. When had he become such a damn softie, anyway? He pushed away from the door and decided to get a little work done on his laptop. Coulson had sent an email requesting a daily progress report and another reminder to "go easy on the expenses."

Clint picked up the hotel phone and ordered room service.

Chapter Text

Laid Bare

Natasha called around ten that night to let him know she was on her way to work and that she would let him know if she needed any backup. Clint decided to err on the side of caution and laid out one of the suits he had brought for his cover. He went into the bathroom and made himself presentable with a shave and some cologne. Earlier that day, Clint had gone for a walk to orient himself and stopped by a corner store for a few supplies – including a small container of hair product... at least, he hoped it was meant for his hair. Upon closer inspection, it looked and smelled like hair gel, so he shrugged and worked some through his hair. As soon as he had arranged his hair into something that looked messy but not like a cat had been sucking on it, Natasha sent him a text message to come down to the club. She had put him on the list so he wouldn't have to wait in the line of Moscow's most attractive and wealthy people.

"Looks like we have a date tonight," he announced to the three-piece suit he had placed on the bed.

The suit looked damn good on him – solid black with a matching waistcoat, grey button-down, and a crimson silk tie. It was tailored to him, but didn't give away the small pistol strapped to his ankle or the pair of stainless steel throwing knives hidden in a pocket inside of his suit jacket. Clint grabbed his cover's wallet, pulled on his coat, and left the room.

Despite being on the list, the two large, tattooed bouncers eyed him suspiciously before they allow him inside. He took a short detour to the bar after checking his coat. Natasha had made sure one of the second floor booths was reserved for him. Clint headed upstairs and found her waiting for him outside of the booth. Tonight, she wore a short purple dress that tied over one shoulder and another pair of strappy heels that looked impossible to stand in, let alone walk. Her hair was piled on top of her head with a couple of curls brushing her shoulders.

"We may have something that will work to our advantage," she told him, ushering him into the booth.

Clint unbuttoned his jacket and sat on the velvet couch. "Yeah?"

"He saw the little present you gave me," Natasha said, and he felt some of the color leave his face. "None of the regulars around here even dare to piss off Markovic. So if someone like your Alex comes in and starts playing with his toys, he'll want to talk to you."

"Or have me shot."

Natasha gave a half nod. "Or that."

Clint took a drink of whiskey and looked at her. "Okay, so how are we going to do this that doesn't involve me getting shot in the face? It's my best feature. I'd like to keep it lead-free."

She narrowed her eyes at him before replying, "He has to see you with me. They allow people to touch the dancers so long as they pay."

"That's going to be a fun one to explain to Coulson," he interrupted, grinning, and received another glare.

"I can handle that part. You just act like you're a rich pain in the ass who likes to throw his money around, and it should work."

Seated across the C-shaped balcony was Markovic, who had been staring at the two of them the whole time. Clint smirked at him and raised his tumbler with a short nod before returning his attention to his partner.

"So do I get a lap dance or something?" he asked hopefully.

Natasha straddled his lap. "Don't get used to this, Barton."

Clint knew he was gawking at her like an idiot as she swayed in time with the music. There wasn't any way this had been part of her S.H.I.E.L.D. training. Sweat prickled at his hairline and he had to fight the urge to touch her. He shifted slightly, doing his best not to break cover and throw her down on the couch. Able to sense his unease, Natasha took both of his hands from his sides, where he had the couch cushion in a death grip, and placed them on her back. She ducked her head, her smooth pink lips brushing against his ear as she spoke. "You're allowed to touch, remember?"

The song playing was vaguely familiar, but Clint was way too distracted to place it. Her skirt had ridden up when she straddled him, exposing even more of her creamy pale thighs, and the fabric slipped up a little more when she spread her knees wider. Resting her hands on his shoulders, she tipped her head back for a second and he caught sight of the bruise on her neck. She had tried to hide it with makeup, but it was still obviously a bite mark, and the knowledge that he had put it there sent a thrill of arousal through him.

His breath whooshed out of his lungs as she pressed herself against the bulge in his trousers, her hips moving to the distorted whine of a guitar. She was hot against him, and with the next roll of her hips, he could see a flash of black lace panties under her skirt. Hands slipping down to the curve of her hip, he pulled her forward a little more, pushing his hips up against hers in a way that would probably get him thrown out of the club if a bouncer saw.

She made a sound that he felt rather than heard, a little "uh!" let out on a sigh, and he looked up to find her giving him a look that was equal parts reproving and aroused. "Stop it," she whispered, leaning close and rubbing her breasts against his chest.

"You stop it," he rumbled back, sliding his hands down and then back up her smooth thighs.

Sliding her hands up to cup her own breasts, she leaned back in a slow, undulating arch, the roll of her body reminding him of a bellydancer, until her back brushed against his knees. The tiny part of his mind that was still detached and observant marveled at the strength and muscle control involved in that move, but the rest of his brain shorted out.

She caught his hands in hers and dragged them up her body as she slowly and sinuously pulled herself upright, settling back against his erection with an obscenely sexy roll of her hips. "Jesus," he breathed, squeezing her breasts through the soft fabric of her dress.

"Mm, you like that?" she murmured, catching her lower lip between her teeth.

"You are fucking amazing," he said, and the corner of her mouth curled up.

He thrust against her again, and her eyes slipped shut for a second, her hands tightening on his wrists. Her movements took on a slightly more urgent rhythm until she was grinding against him, and he very nearly forgot where they were and what they were supposed to be doing. Natasha's cheeks were flushed and her lips parted, and Clint couldn't help thinking about how she looked when he fucked her against the window.


They both started and looked to see another dancer standing at the edge of Clint's booth. She said something in rapid Russian, and Natasha answered, turning back to him as the other girl walked away. "Sorry, Mr. Reynolds," she purred, dipping into her Russian accent. "I think your time is up."

Leaning close, she kissed him on the cheek and whispered, "Markovic has requested me. Keep your eyes open, Barton."

"I've got your back. Be careful," he replied, sliding his hand up her thigh and tucking a couple of thousand ruble notes under the edge of her panties. "Thanks for the dance, Natalya."

Giving him a smirk, she slipped out of his lap and sashayed across the club's balcony to Markovic's booth. Clint shifted uncomfortably, trying to relieve the strain of his trousers over his erection while keeping an eye on Natasha. She had settled into the booth next to Markovic and seemed to have everything under control, even though Markovic was shooting deadly glares Clint's way every couple of minutes.

A waitress brought Clint another whiskey, which he nursed for a while. Eventually, another dancer came to his booth, and he paid her for a less-handsy lap dance. She was attractive and all, but he would much rather have had Natasha wiggling in his lap. At one point, he glanced over at Markovic's booth to find Natasha glaring daggers at him.

Oh well. He'd deal with that later.

Finally Markovic and his cronies left, and Clint tossed back the last of his third whiskey. Natasha met him on the corner again, and there was something distinctly frosty in her posture as she hailed a cab.

"So what the hell is the deal with that other lap dance?" she muttered to him as they climbed into the car.

Clint stifled the urge to grin. He'd never seen jealous Natasha before, and he had to admit, he kind of liked it. "I had to maintain my cover," he protested. "Was I supposed to sit there and look bored the rest of the night?"

Glaring at him, she gave the cabbie his hotel name. Clint leaned close to her, nuzzling her ear. "I was imagining she was you the whole time, though," he whispered.

She looked slightly mollified. He could see a faint smile lurking at the corner of her mouth, but she was silent the whole drive to the hotel. When the cabbie pulled up at the front doors, he got out and offered her his hand, but she stayed firmly seated. "Um," he said. "Are you coming up?"

Natasha gave him a quirked eyebrow, then leaned forward and said something to the driver in Russian, after which the driver reset the meter.

"You'll have to get frisky with your left hand," she said sweetly. "Good night, Mr. Reynolds."

"But--" Clint stammered.

She pulled the car door closed, and the cab took off in a spray of slush, leaving Clint standing on the curb, cold and sexually frustrated.

Chapter Text

Laid Bare

Despite the previous night, Clint decided to really get into his cover and took a few cues from that Stark guy S.H.I.E.L.D. had been watching when he went to the club that night. From what Natasha had told him that morning, he was definitely on Markovic's shit list and intended to take advantage of that attention. He could see Natasha leaning against the railing on the balcony. Tonight she had on a backless metallic halter-top that looked less like a shirt and more like a shiny scrap of fabric held on with a little bit of string and a lot of hope. As he ascended the staircase he could see that she also had on a black leather miniskirt that was just as dangerously short as her other outfits had been. He was really starting to like this job.

Somehow Natasha hadn't seen him yet and he used this to his advantage, walking up behind her and placing his hands on the exposed skin above her skirt's waistband. She stiffened in his hold. Clint leaned forward and brushed her long, curly locks over her left shoulder so he could speak into her ear.

"Looking for someone?" he asked.

Natasha shivered. Clint rubbed his thumbs appreciatively over the silken skin of her lower back. He glanced around to see if the mark was in his usual booth and sure enough – there he was, staring at the two of them. A smug grin spread across Clint's face, and he whispered to Natasha to follow him to the booth. He caught her hand in his and led her back to the reserved stall, making sure to order a bottle of champagne from a passing waitress.

"What's the plan?" she asked, arranging herself on the couch.

"You wanted me to make him jealous and that is exactly what I plan to do," he told her and gathered her into his lap.

Natasha balanced herself with one arm around Clint's shoulders and crossed her legs, hooking one ankle around the back of his calf. She looked up when the waitress returned, saying something to her that Clint didn't understand. Both women laughed before the leggy blonde waitress who Clint thought Natasha had called Yelena left the booth. Noting the bottle of champagne that had been brought over, Natasha gave him a reprimanding look.

"What?" Clint asked with an innocent shrug. "I want to sell the annoying American with money thing, right?"

"Coulson is going to have your ass," she said. "Besides, you know I hate that stuff."

"You don't drink when you're on the job."

"Unlike some people," she quipped, pouring a glass and handing it to him.

"I resent that."

Clint sipped a bit of the sharply dry champagne. He didn't like the stuff much either, but it seemed like a good idea. Natasha looked over the back of the couch at a couple women who had been passing by and called them over. They were a pair of identical twins who were quite literally dolled up in short dresses with ruffled skirts and black patent Mary Janes. Clint looked around to see if Chris Hansen was about to make an appearance – there was no way these two were legal in any country. Natasha said something that included his cover's name.

"The one on the left is Irina, the other is Anya, and you're sharing some of our champagne with them," she told him, smiling at the girls. "They don't speak a word of English."

"Spasiba!" Anya and Irina said in unison, raising their glasses.

Clint smiled and nodded, watching the two of them leave the booth.

"At least it isn't going to waste," Natasha said, "and I know that those two are favorites of Markovic's entourage. They should be headed over there right now."

"Good thinking."

A tiny smirk turned up the corner of her mouth. "Well, they don't keep me around for my looks," she said.

"I beg to differ," Clint replied with a grin.

Forgetting where they were for just a second, Clint leaned in to kiss Natasha. He caught himself and moved his head just slightly to whisper in her ear instead. Even in the dim lighting, he could see the blush that rose in her cheeks. He prided himself on the fact that he could make one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top agents blush like a schoolgirl. Natasha bit her lower lip, raising one perfectly sculpted eyebrow at what he planned on doing to her once they were done with the mission. Clint skimmed his fingers along her thigh and felt her shiver again.

"Maybe we should try to finish what we started last night," he told her, pausing to nip at her ear lobe, "That was the best lap dance I ever had."

A shudder ran through her body and he felt her nails dig into his shoulder through the fabric. "We have company," she said, going still.

When Clint looked over the back of the couch, a very large and very angry-looking Russian man stood flanked by two even bigger bodyguards. All three were impeccably dressed, Clint had to give them that. Markovic was a hell of a lot taller than Clint had been led to believe. Immediately, Natasha stood and introduced them to each other, alternately in Russian and English. Markovic's expression somehow managed to remain neutral but also like he would break Clint's neck at the first opportunity. Clint snapped back into his alter ego and stood, one hand extended to shake the man's hand.

"I see you have been spending time with my Natalya," Markovic said, staring at Clint's hand as if it were covered in something, his voice deep and heavily accented.

Clint dropped his hand to his side. "First time in Moscow and I heard this was the best place to go," he replied and slipped his right arm around Natasha's waist. "Can't say that it's let me down, especially Natalya here."

Anger flickered through Markovic's dark eyes. "Perhaps you aren't aware of the... influence I have in this establishment," he intoned. "Most of the people here know that I prefer things a certain way."

"Can't say that I am, Marky," Clint said, swirling the champagne in his glass. "Want a drink?"

Markovic stepped closer, somehow managing to make all six feet of him even bigger as he towered over Clint. His voice was dangerously low and distinct as he spoke, "I will only say this once – keep your hands off of my girl."

He grabbed Natasha's forearm hard enough to make her gasp in pain. Clint suppressed the urge to punch Markovic and breathed deeply. "Listen, pal. I paid for her and if my watch is correct, I still have another," he paused to look at the platinum wristwatch he wore on his left arm, "twenty minutes. You go take a seat, and I'll make sure I get her back to you in one piece."

Clint forced a smile and clapped a hand on Markovic's upper arm. Markovic's face went scarily blank once more and he turned, saying something in Russian to Natasha before releasing his grip on her arm. He and his two guards left the stall. Both Clint and Natasha exhaled a breath they hadn't realized they were holding.

"Tash?" Clint asked after a moment.


"What does 'devochka moya' mean? He kept saying it."

"'My little girl'," she replied.


Natasha rubbed her arm where Markovic had grabbed her. "Pretty much."

Gingerly, Clint took her forearm and ran his hand over the same spot. It spooked him to have seen her cry out in pain from something so simple as a hand touching her. "You okay?" he asked.

She shrugged him off. "Just surprised me. He's usually pretty gentle with me. Guess you're doing your job."

If that was meant as a compliment, Clint definitely wasn't flattered. Rage spiked inside of him at the idea of Markovic doing anything else to her. "That's it, I'm taking care of this tonight," he said, making for the booth's curtain, but Natasha's hand on his arm stopped him.

"Don't!" she snapped. "Dammit, I knew this was going to happen. You can't let your feelings for me get in the way. Just do your damn job."

"Killing him is the job, Tash."

"We need him alive to find out the location of his factory. It's bad enough that Coulson sent you to check on me, but don't you dare fuck this up because you can't keep your head on straight," Natasha warned.

"I can do my goddamn job without you treating me like some rookie."

Clint saw the exact moment where she shut down. She drew her arm away and squared her shoulders, her blue eyes turning cold in a second. "Looks like your time is up, Mr. Reynolds," she said. "Go back to the hotel. I can handle this myself."

Natasha didn't give him another look before leaving him alone in the booth. Clint fought the impulse to follow her and finish the argument. If the damn stall had solid walls, he would have sent his fist through one of them. He stared at the floor, taking a few deep breaths to collect himself. When he looked up again, he could see Natasha was in Markovic's booth, looking like the perfect, attentive plaything of a rich man. She threw her head back, laughing at something Markovic had said to her. Clint knew it was to sell her cover, but he still felt sick at the idea of her going back to someone who had just hurt her. Markovic caught his gaze and raised his glass with a dark grin.

Fuck this.

Clint left the club, stopping only to get his coat. Outside, Clint turned up the collar of his grey peacoat against the cold night air. He decided to blow off some steam by taking a walk before he went back to that nice hotel and damaged anything. What pissed him off about the situation was that Natasha was right about him letting his emotions get in the way of completing the mission properly. This was her mission to begin with, and he was fucking it up. He had no reason not to trust her to get the job done, but when she hadn't reported in, he got scared and asked Coulson to send him in.

And as much as he knew all of that on a logical level, he still wanted to go put a bullet in Markovic's head. He was still afraid of losing Natasha if something went wrong. And he hated feeling powerless, because he knew that there wasn't a damn thing he could do to stop anything from going wrong.

Once this whole thing was over and done with, he was going to have to do some serious thinking about what Natasha meant to him. This had moved way past partners-who-occasionally-had-sex, and that scared him shitless. He had always managed to keep his personal life, such as it was, out of his work and had prided himself on that fact. Though he would be lying to himself if he said he regretted anything he felt for Natasha.

Something else began to bother him. Two blocks away from the club, Clint noticed that he was being followed. The guy stood out just enough from the rest of the pedestrian crowd. Clint stopped beside a Metro entrance and took out his phone. His first instinct was to send a message to Natasha, but he was pretty sure she didn't have her phone with her at the moment. He glanced up to get a better look at his tail – late twenties to early thirties, bald, and had to be just over six feet tall. The guy didn't appear to have a neck either.

Clint started down the relatively empty side street to his right and looked for an alley where he could deal with this guy. He slipped the phone back into his jacket pocket and felt for the pair of throwing knives sewn into the lining. The guy might be bigger, but Clint knew he was faster. Between two abandoned buildings, found the perfect spot and turned the corner and waited.

Not five seconds later, the tail joined him in the alleyway, cracking his knuckles. Clint couldn't keep from laughing. "Are you serious? Where did you learn your intimidation technique – Saturday morning cartoons?"

In response, the guy swung at Clint and narrowly missed his face. Clint had stepped back just in time to miss the blow that would have undoubtedly broken his nose. This gave him about half a second to shove the guy back against the rusty dumpster just behind his opponent. The man's body connected with a loud thud, stalling him just long enough for Clint to reach for the knives in his jacket. Much to his surprise, the guy regained his bearings scarily fast and closed the space between them with two giant steps.

"Well fuck."

The next thing Clint felt was the sharp crack of his skull against brick and a vice-tight grip around his throat. He struggled for a breath but felt the man's hold on his neck tighten like a boa constrictor. His own hands failed to loosen the guy's grip, and he could feel the blood gathering in his face. Somehow his opponent managed to squeeze even tighter and Clint knew he had only a moment before this guy was going to snap his neck. He drew one of the knives from his pocket and lashed at the guy's face as best he could with his blurred vision. He felt the knife connect with something fleshy, and the hand suddenly let go of his neck.

Clint dropped to his knees and struggled for air while the man grunted in pain. He hoped the bastard would stay down long enough for him to right himself. When the spots in his vision had cleared, Clint saw the stainless steel blade embedded in the hollow of the man's throat and the pool of blood staining his white shirt. He wasn't dead yet but it wouldn't be long now. Clint looked away and removed the knife, wiping it off on the guy's black coat and returned it to his own pocket. Looking around, Clint made sure there weren't any passers-by and grabbed his opponent by the ankles, dragging him inside the building to his right. By some stroke of luck, cold rain began to fall and began to sluice away the trail of blood. He looked back at his opponent and found his eyes closed.

Clint checked the body for a pulse and felt nothing. He sighed quietly, wincing at the soreness in this throat, and left the building. The rain felt more like ice against his skin as he walked out of the alley and back toward the main road. At least it would wash any evidence of the fight off of him before he could get a taxi. Traffic was horrendously busy, and he ended up waiting a good ten minutes before he spotted one. He told the driver the name of the hotel and took out his phone to message Natasha.

Was followed. Took care of it. Keep an eye out when you go home.

Her reply came a few seconds later. Thanks for the heads up. You okay?

Clint hesitated a moment before he answered. Fine.

Chapter Text

Laid Bare

Clint slept until three in the afternoon, partly out of exhaustion from the fight and being choked out and partly because he just didn't want to wake up and think about Natasha and all of the shit that was going on. He lay in bed for another couple of hours with room service and the TV remote, but the only English channels were news networks. It wasn't thrilling, but it kept him occupied. Around eight o'clock he had become engrossed in in some Russian evening soap opera when he heard a knock at the door. He stood and took a few cautious steps toward the door. Who knew how many spies Markovic had working for him and if they had managed to locate him. He reached for the gun he had hidden in the top drawer of the dresser.

"It's me. Open up."

Looking through the peephole, he saw that Natasha was alone in the hall, or at least looked to be. He kept the gun ready as he unlocked the door and opened it for her, but she really was by herself. She stepped into his room, her perfume wafting around her, and he closed the door behind her.

"What are you doing here? Markovic might have a tail on you," he said, setting the chain on the door.

"No one followed me," she replied. "I just... I wanted to make sure you're all right."

Clint rubbed his neck unconsciously, and her expression shifted as she looked at him. She had looked concerned when she came through the door, but now there was something unidentifiable in her expression. It looked like she didn't even know what she was feeling.

"I'm fine," he said. "Just had to kill a guy last night when he tried to choke me to death. You know, the usual."

She came up to him and tugged his t-shirt collar down, her fingers cool against the bruises on his throat. "Jesus," she muttered, biting her bottom lip.

"We're going to have to finish this soon," she continued, crossing back to the bed, where she had dropped her purse. "It's getting dangerous."

"What's the plan for tonight?" he asked, leaning back against the dresser and crossing his arms.

She pulled a bottle out of her bag and tossed it to him. "Ibuprofen," she explained. "I didn't know if you were hurt, but I know you can't read Russian, so I thought I would bring it just in case."

He caught the bottle in one hand, feeling weirdly flattered that she had thought to bring him painkillers. "Thanks," he said, popping the top off of the bottle and swallowing a couple of pills.

Walking over to the window, she looked out, her arms tight across her chest. "Not sure of the plan yet," she said. "Markovic thinks I'm his little toy, but he doesn't exactly let me in on his plans. He's been at the club every night since I've been here, so I'm assuming he'll be there tonight. We'll have to think of a way to separate him from his entourage and get the location of his factory out of him. Somehow."

"Okay," he said. "We'll play it by ear, then. You know what you're doing."

She looked at him over her shoulder as if gauging whether he was being sarcastic or not. Whatever she saw in his face, though, must have satisfied her, because she gave him a small smile. "I have to get to the club," she said, taking a couple of hesitant steps toward him.

That took Clint aback. He had never seen her hesitate, and it made his heart thump against his ribcage. That indefinable something was in her expression again, and he wanted to know what it meant so badly that it made him ache.

"Clint, I'm... I'm sorry for implying that you aren't doing your job," she said suddenly, in a rush as if the words were tumbling from her mouth. "That was wrong--"

"No," he interrupted. "You were right. I didn't have my head on straight last night, and I needed the reminder."

She pressed her lips together for a second, looking him right in the eye. "I... I really should go," she finally said. "My cab is waiting outside."

He walked her to the door, reaching around her to open it. She turned and looked up at him, and for just a second, he was sure she would rise up on her tiptoes and kiss him. Instead, she just gave him a half-smile and pulled her coat tight around her waist.

"See you at the club," she said, and then she was gone.

Clint sat on the edge of the bed and rested his head in his hands. He wasn't used to this, to being so mixed up that he was having trouble concentrating on the mission. He was angry with himself for being distracted. He was angry with Natasha for calling him on his bullshit, and he was angry that she had felt the need to apologize for it.

But more than anything else, he wanted her to come back. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and never let go.

He hated that he couldn't read her. They had worked together for years, and right when he thought he had a handle on her, she did a 180 and he was left just as mystified as he was when he first met her. That look... he knew what he wanted it to be. He wanted her to feel the same about him as he did about her. He knew he had fallen for her, no matter how bad of an idea it was to fall in love with your partner.

Surging to his feet, he yanked his t-shirt over his head and flung it at the dresser. It wasn't really satisfying, but it was better than punching a hole in the wall. He stormed into the bathroom and took a cold shower.

The shower didn't really help to improve his mood. This meant that Plan B was in order - alcohol, preferably lots of it. Though this was sometimes referred to as "Plan A." Clint headed back to the Pigalle for what he was hoping would be the last time and was greeted with the same loud, obnoxious techno music. He considered bribing the DJ to put on something with a goddamn melody and that wasn't produced on a synthesizer. This time, he ordered a double.

Clint nursed his whiskey at the bar and looked around for Natasha, but didn't see her anywhere. Something felt off that night, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. It took a while to filter through his bad mood and his growing buzz, but he finally realized that there was an air of anticipation floating around the place. People were milling around, shuffling toward the stage at the opposite end of the club from the bar.

He tossed back the rest of his whiskey and slid off of his barstool. Obviously something interesting was going to happen on the stage. He might as well see what it was, and it wasn't like he was doing anything interesting at the bar anyway.

A velvet armchair was open right at the edge of the stage, so Clint planted his ass in it, waving down a passing waitress to order a second whiskey. A pretty girl was in the chair beside his, and she gave him a coy smile. "Privet," she said, batting ridiculously long false eyelashes at him. "Menya zovut Lena."

Normally he would have flirted with her, but the language barrier was a problem and anyway, he just didn't have the heart for it. "Sorry," he said, then shook his head and brushed off his rusty Russian. "Izvinite, ya ne govoryu po-russki."

She gave him a vaguely derisive once-over that clearly said "too bad," and turned to the guy on her other side. He tipped the waitress generously and settled back in his chair, swirling the amber liquid around in his glass. Soon, the majority of the club-goers had gathered around him and the pounding techno dropped away, leaving his ears ringing a little.

A disembodied voice suddenly boomed out over the speakers, rattling off a string of Russian that Clint was way too buzzed to catch, and the lights suddenly dimmed until he could barely see anything. The announcer said something else but he only understood a single word: "Natalya."

Clint watched the stage as the lights shifted so that only a few overhead, red bulbs could be seen. Beneath them, a woman's silhouette walked to the center of the stage to the sound of a phone being dialed. As soon as the slow, bass-heavy beat began, a spotlight illuminated the figure. It was Natasha in a revealing piece of crimson silk accented by gold lace that showcased her long, athletic legs and just barely covered her breasts. One hand gripped the brass pole in the center of the stage as she drew a slow circle around it, slowly undulating her body. Clint shifted forward in his seat, completely transfixed with this sight. Natasha circled her hips while trailing her free hand down her body, ghosting between her cleavage, until it touched the lace hem. She leaned back against the pole with her back arched and very subtly drew the bottom of the material up, revealing a flash of what appeared to be bare skin.

In that moment, Natasha happened to catch Clint's gaze and her eyes widened slightly. Something quickly changed in her expression and he watched as the hand that had been on the pole came down to fondle her breast through the silk. The other drifted downward, just barely grazing the juncture of her thighs before quickly changing direction and sliding down her leg. She took another turn around the pole, facing it this time, her movements showing off the curve of her ass through the flimsy material. Clint shifted in his seat and loosened his tie and top buttons. He hoped this wouldn't go on for too long because he wasn't so sure he could make it without ruining his nice clothes.

Natasha turned to look at him over her shoulder, her long ringlets sweeping down her back, and she grinned. The song picked up tempo and she was climbing up the pole with both hands. She squeezed her thighs around the pole to hold herself in place as she gracefully leaned backward, extending one arm to grasp the pole beneath her body. Her lithe frame made one curved, long line for a few seconds before she righted herself. She climbed up a little higher and held tightly to the pole with both hands, angling the rest of her body away from it. Her entire frame rolled in a series of waves that had the crowd catcalling and whistling.

Clint could feel himself sweating just watching her move like this. She wrapped herself around the pole and leaned backward, legs splayed just long enough to show off the panties she had on beneath the dress. The moves were sexy, there wasn't any doubt about that, but also showed off the strength and flexibility of her body. It was beautiful.

Natasha leaned forward with one arm in place and her legs wrapped around the pole to steady her. She held the new horizontal position and drew her head up from facing the floor, her neck a graceful arch. From this pose, she suddenly dropped toward the floor in a move that made his heart jump into his throat. Her body swung downward until it was upside down along the length of the pole, and she caught herself on her bent knee, swinging her other leg out into a split.

She stayed wrapped sinuously around the pole for a moment, holding herself in place with her leg and shoulder, and then she spread her arms, sweeping her long hair into a gorgeous swirl. Her body slowly turned around the pole until her hands could reach the floor. Both hands braced her weight as she pulled her body into a handstand for just a moment and then hooked her left leg around the pole to turn herself in a half circle. This allowed her to swing herself back to a standing position in one swift movement. She walked halfway around the pole to face Clint once more. Her eyes met his and she sucked her plump lower lip between her teeth, a playful smile drawing up the corner of her mouth.

He abruptly realized that his mouth was hanging open; he closed it quickly and tugged at his collar again.

From this pose, Natasha took another turn around the pole with her right arm and leg extended. That same leg hitched around the pole and she pulled herself upward with both hands, climbing a foot or so and made another revolution with her body. Clint felt the need to touch her welling up inside of him again. Even if it had only been just over a day since they had been in intimate contact, he needed to feel her skin beneath his, needed to hear her breath hitch when he touched the right places, needed to have those strong muscles which were holding her up on that pole start to tremble and weaken as she came apart for him.

Natasha kept her thighs tight around the pole and elegantly stretched her body parallel to the ground, holding the pose just long enough to garner approval from the audience. Angling the top half of her body downward, she unraveled herself slowly until she was able to touch both hands to the floor. Clint watched as she brought one leg down behind her, followed by the other, and drew herself into a standing position. Again, she curved her body slightly outward, leaning against the pole for support, and trailed her hands over her body. He resented not being able to see this head-on like he had before. One thin strap slipped from her shoulder as she gently swayed in place, somehow making her look all the more debauched. Clint was glad he was sitting down.

The song began to wind down as Natasha circled around the pole at a leisurely pace. She drew herself down to the floor with each revolution and laid herself out in a seductive pose. One knee was bent with the rest of her body arching away from the floor in a subtle curve. Her arms were stretched out above her head at gentle angles. Clint could see the faint sheen of sweat covering her pale skin. From here he could see her face clearly, her eyes closed as she breathed deeply. Just as the song finished, Natasha opened her eyes and looked directly at him. The tiniest smile curved her lips and she flicked her gaze up toward his usual booth just long enough for him to take the hint.

If Clint hadn't been so completely devoted to watching her, his eyes probably would have rolled back in his head.

While the rest of the club was cheering for "Natalya's" performance, Clint hurried upstairs to meet her. He removed the suit jacket he had been wearing and laid it over the back of the couch. While it helped cool him off a little, there was still the... pressing matter of his erection. He wanted nothing more than to take care of it (or better yet, let Natasha do that when she joined him), but he was still in public. Clint paced around the booth, doing his best to think about anything but Natasha and her little stage show. Picturing Markovic in the outfit Natasha had been wearing on stage seemed to work, but it made him wonder just where the hell Markovic was. His booth was empty, and that seemed a little ominous.


He turned to see her standing at the booth's entrance, and damned if she didn't take his breath away again. She had changed out of her stage outfit, and while he was a little sad to see the crimson silk go, she was still stunning. She wore a short black dress that plunged low in the front, showing off her pale cleavage to great advantage. The dress was paired with a pair of shoes that looked absolutely deadly, stilettos with spiky metal diamonds on the tops of her feet and around her ankles. Clint let his gaze drag down her body and watched her shiver as if he had touched her.

"Um... hey there," he said, cringing a little bit at his pathetic attempt at smooth talk; just the sight of her was enough to bring all of that lust roaring back into his body.

She smirked at him, and just like that, the tension that had been so heavy between them broke, and he finally felt like he could breathe again. Oh, there was still the not-so-small matters of Clint's not-work-appropriate feelings for her and the angry Russian arms dealer who wanted to kill him, but things suddenly felt right between Natasha and him, like they were back to being partners instead of two uncomfortable people dancing around each other.

"Any idea where Markovic is?" he asked, pushing his hands back through his hair.

Natasha glanced around the VIP area. "Not here," she said. "He left a message that he wants to reserve me for tomorrow night, but I haven't seen him or any of his entourage here."

"Fuck," Clint said. "I wanted to take care of this tonight."

"Yeah, same here," she said. "I'll take care of it tomorrow. Maybe that will be the night Natalya finally gives into his... requests."

The idea sent a blast of jealous anger through Clint, and though he tried to hide it, he knew Natasha had seen it on his face. Her eyes darkened a little, and she turned as if she were going to leave.

Clint cursed silently at himself and turned away, ready to start a new round of self-loathing-induced pacing. There was a faint rustle behind him, and he glanced back more out of instinct than anything else.

Natasha cleared her throat to draw his attention. He saw that she had closed the curtains at the entrance and somehow had moved silently past him to take care of the set at the front of the booth, completely closing it off on all sides.

Her hands still on the velvet, she looked at him over her shoulder, her red hair draped across her bare back. Clint took a deep breath as she turned and slowly closed the distance between them. Her expression was unreadable again, and it made his heart pound. She could have closed the curtains for lurid reasons, but she could have just as easily closed it so no one would see her kicking his ass. With Natasha, he never knew.

The backs of his knees hit the edge of a cushioned ottoman, and he started a little, unaware that he had even moved. Her heels brought her up nearly to his height, and she stopped just a few inches from him, close enough for him to inhale the spicy-floral scent of her perfume.

She pressed her lips together and suddenly put both hands in the center of his chest, pushing hard. He went down onto the ottoman with a grunt, but she was in his lap almost before he could react, straddling him and settling against his body. One of her arms went around his shoulders and the other hand fisted in his hair hard enough to hurt a little, pulling his head back so she could press her mouth against his, her tongue pushing between his lips aggressively.

Groaning, Clint slid his hands down to cup her ass, pulling her firmly against his erection, which had reappeared so swiftly that he felt a little dizzy. She planted her feet on the ground and rolled her hips, grinding against him, making soft noises of pleasure against his mouth.

"Oh fuck," he gasped, breaking away from her lips long enough to suck in a breath. "Natasha..."

"So did you like the show?" she purred in his ear, catching the lobe between her teeth.

"Ah... oh yes," he said, but it was proving difficult to concentrate with her sucking on his earlobe. "Was... was that for me?"

She drew back to look at him, the smirk back on her gorgeous lips. "Was what for you?" she teased.

"You kept looking at me while you were dancing," he said, squeezing her ass. "And I kept thinking about bending you over and fucking you ‘til you screamed."

Her response was to throw her head back, breathing hard, and he couldn't resist the pale arch of her neck. Wrapping an arm around her back, he leaned into her, dragging his lips and tongue from her collarbone up to her jawline, nudging her long earring out of the way so he could press open-mouthed kisses against the sensitive spot just below her ear.

"You are so fucking sexy," he growled into her ear, and she whimpered, her grip tightening on his shoulders. "I want to make you lose your mind."

"Oh god," she breathed, lifting her head so that her face was centimeters from his.

Her pupils were dilated and her lips parted, and he couldn't resist. Sinking a hand into her hair, he thrust his tongue into her mouth and leaned her back enough to arch her back, all the while rolling her hips against his in an obscene mimicry of fucking.

She abruptly broke the kiss, sliding out of his lap, and he made a rather embarrassingly desperate noise. He caught her when she started to drop to her knees. "No," he said, pulling her up.

She looked confused until he slid his hands up her thighs and under the tight skirt of her dress, sliding his fingers under the straps of her thong. The confusion turned to almost desperate lust as he tugged the lacy panties down her legs, and she braced herself on his shoulders and lifted a foot at a time so he could pull them completely off. "Oh, I like these," he rumbled, looking at them for a moment before tucking the scrap of fabric into the pocket of his trousers.

Natasha let out a breath of laughter. "Pervert," she said fondly, and he gave her a sharp grin.

Sliding his hands up her smooth thighs again, he leaned forward, pressing his face against her skirt and inhaling the scent of her arousal, enjoying the way her body shivered at his touch. He hooked his thumbs under the hem of her dress and slowly lifted it, pushing the clinging fabric up around her waist. "Please," she whispered, barely audible over the music pounding outside of their booth.

His tongue darted out, just barely grazing her clit, and she gasped, her grip tightening on his shoulders. She spread her legs a little wider, and Clint slipped off of the ottoman, kneeling at her feet, careful not to snag his pants leg on the spikes on her shoes. Wrapping a hand around her calf, he tugged her foot up and put it on the ottoman behind his shoulder, leaving her spread open and ready for him.

She let out a soft cry when he pressed his lips against her, and he glanced up to see that she had a hand pressed over her own mouth. Holding her hip with one hand, he slid the other between her legs to grip her ass, pulling her firmly against his mouth. Her whole body shook when he pushed his tongue into her cunt, and he reveled in having that effect on her.

She tasted so sweet; he felt like he couldn't get enough of her, no matter how hard he tried. Her clit was swollen and hard against his tongue, and he wrapped his lips around it, sucking gently for a second before flickering the very tip of his tongue against it. Natasha was keening now, the sound muffled into her hand, and she gripped his hair hard, grinding against his mouth.

Knowing that she was as turned on and desperate as him send a wildfire of lust racing through him. She was growing more and more unsteady as he lapped at her clit, until he finally had to pull back for fear she would fall.

"No!" she gasped, looking like she was ready to strangle him.

"Ssh, baby," he said, rising to his feet and pulling her over to the couch.

She let him push her back onto the cushions. Clint thought he might pass out at the sight of her sprawled decadently on the red velvet, her face flushed and her lips swollen, spreading her legs eagerly for him. Taking her thighs in his hands, he thrust his tongue into her cunt again, bringing his thumb over to rub at her clit.

She cried out again, and he reached up to cover her mouth with his hand. Her fingers gripped his wrist tightly, and she bucked her hips up against him. It thrilled him that he could do this to her, hold her down and make her come apart at the seams, and it turned him on even more to realize that she was getting off on having his hand over her mouth.

Rubbing firm circles on her clit, he flickered his tongue inside of her, and her thighs began to quiver. Her breath was hot against his palm, and she was gazing at him desperately, her eyes heavy-lidded, her grip painfully tight on his arm.

A few more strokes of his thumb and she was convulsing, shuddering, her body trapped between his mouth and the couch cushion, her pussy fluttering around his tongue. It was so intensely sexy that he honestly thought he might come in his pants like a goddamn teenager.

She came down slowly, and he slowly licked up and down the length of her pussy, coaxing every last shiver from her that he could get. She finally tugged his hand away from her mouth, sliding off of the couch into his lap and kissing him desperately, licking her own taste off of his lips.

"Fuck," she breathed, sucking at his bottom lip. "I need you to fuck me, Clint."

"Oh Jesus," he groaned between kisses. "Not here. Someplace... private. I want to make you come over and over, all night."

Natasha moaned, her head falling back. "My apartment is closer than your hotel," she said. "Let's go."

On their feet, she straightened her skirt and smoothed her hair down, and he decided to hide the wet spot her pussy had left on the thigh of his trousers with his suit jacket. No one gave them a second glance as they made their way through the club and claimed their coats.

The cab ride to her apartment was probably the tensest he had ever had. It was all he could do to keep himself from fucking her right there in the back seat. To make matters worse, Natasha took hold of his hand and placed it on her inner thigh, dangerously close to where Clint wanted it to be. She crossed one leg over the other, trapping his hand between her velvet-soft, warm thighs and he had to remind himself to breathe. He felt her hand creeping along his own leg and forced himself to stop her before it got any higher. Natasha grinned evilly at the warning look he shot her.

Sliding down a little in the seat, Natasha forced his hand up against her mound, still slick from that stolen moment in the club. She dropped her head against the back of the seat, her plump lower lip caught between her white teeth, and rocked her hips ever so slightly. Clint could hear the hitch in her breath as she ground herself against his hand. Her eyes were squeezed shut, a look of concentration on her beautiful face.

Clint felt lightheaded watching her try to bring herself to climax like this and fought the urge to wrap his hand around his rigid cock and join her. A shudder went through Natasha and she clamped her hand over her mouth, her breathing shallow and quick. Unable to sit by and watch any longer, Clint drew her to him roughly, and claimed her mouth.

"How much longer," he panted against her lips.

"Another block," she said breathlessly and pulled him back to her mouth.

Somehow they made it back to her apartment without fucking in the backseat of the cab, though they didn't manage one flight of stairs before there was up-against-the-nearest-wall kissing. Clint untied the black coat Natasha wore, slipping his hands inside to feel the heat of her body through the thin material of her dress. He considered just going for it right there on the landing, but didn't need to get the police involved. That would be interesting to explain to Coulson and Fury, but would most likely get them both fired or, at the very least, split up.

"Gonna fuck me on this staircase?" she breathed into his ear, dragging her tongue around the outer edge of it.

It took all of Clint's strength not to give in, and he trapped her arms up above her head, pinning her between the wall and his body. "Tempting, but this time I want to do more than just sleep in a bed with you," he said, pausing to kiss her before urging her up the next flight of stairs.

Natasha's second floor apartment was the first door on the left. She paused to remove the key from her purse and Clint crowded up behind her, unable to keep his hands and mouth off of her. He sucked another mark into her neck as she fished around in the purse, pausing to bite back a moan and lean into him. Natasha cursed under her breath and produced the key.

And then everything went black.


When Clint came to, he could hear people talking but couldn't understand what was being said. His head felt like it had been cracked open, sharp pain radiating from the back of his head through his skull and down his back. He also couldn't see anything even though he knew his eyes were open. He tried to reach for whatever was over his eyes, but his hands were tightly bound behind his back, and the knot refused to slip even a little, no matter how hard he tugged.

Natasha's voice sounded frightened despite the fact he had no idea what she was saying. She sounded like she was pleading for her life or, perhaps, his. Whatever it was, the way her voice cracked as she spoke terrified Clint. He had never heard her so desperate and frightened before. The male voice that had been speaking when Clint regained consciousness registered - Markovic.

Rage flooded through Clint, a blast of adrenaline that made him fight against his bonds even harder. The sound of Markovic's laughter brought him back to his senses, though; fighting against the rope wouldn't do him a damn bit of good. He needed to use his head, to listen carefully and find some weakness in the situation that he could exploit to his and Natasha's advantage.

His sharpshooting was mostly based on eyesight, but just because that was his focus didn't mean that he had ignored the other aspects of hunting. He closed his eyes, even though he really didn't need to, and took a deep breath, ignoring the ache in his head. Natasha grunted in pain; she was about six feet to his right, and someone much bigger than her was with her, presumably holding her still. Feet shuffled behind him... two feet away at the most.

Markovic spoke again in Russian; he was also to Clint's right, maybe three feet away. Clint quickly built a mental image of the situation: Markovic and two goons, one on Tasha and one probably ready to grab Clint at a moment's notice. Markovic pacing back and forth between his two captives, probably spouting off some ridiculous villain speech, or at least that's what it sounded like to Clint's Russian-impaired ears.

"So, Mr. Reynolds," Markovic said, suddenly switching to English. "You thought you could play with my toy. You arrogant Americans, thinking you can come to my country like you own it."

"Hey, fuck you, buddy," Clint retorted, taking the chance that pissing off Markovic would open up an opportunity for Natasha. "I'll play with whatever I want."

The guy behind Clint grabbed him by the arms and dragged him to his feet. Clint had just a second to tense up before a punch landed right in his gut, hard enough to double him over. Markovic punched him a second time, and Clint retched.

Natasha was sobbing and begging in Russian, and Clint could hear a brief scuffle before she grunted and cursed. Markovic said something sharp, and Clint found himself thrown to the floor. He landed on his right arm, and while doing a convincing job of writhing on the concrete in pain, he managed to push his blindfold up just enough so that he could see.

It looked like Natasha had clawed Markovic's face, and he was spitting mad. Goon #1 was holding her arm, and she had an authentic look of terror on her face. Markovic looked like he had just slapped her, and Clint couldn't help feeling just a tiny bit sorry for the guy. Tasha was going to make him pay for that.

"Daite mne ruzh'e!" Markovic shouted at Goon #2.

Clint couldn't understand what he said, but his meaning became readily apparent when the guy handed Markovic a gold Desert Eagle .50 caliber handgun.

Clint's blood froze in his veins. He chanced a glance at Natasha, and she caught his eye -- or the sliver of his eye peeking out from under the blindfold -- and gave him the tiniest nod.

"Fuck you, Mr. Reynolds," Markovic said, unnecessarily cocking the hammer on his absurdly large gun.

Shifting his weight, Clint kicked out as hard as he could, his foot connecting solidly with Markovic's kneecap with a satisfying crack, making the man crumple to the floor, howling. At the same moment, Natasha whipped around in Goon #1's grip, grappling his arm and twisting it so that the guy dropped to his knees, where she swiftly snapped his neck.

Markovic had dropped his gun, and now he scrambled for it, but Natasha was quicker. She snatched it up off of the floor and shot Goon #2, then stood over Markovic with the Desert Eagle trained at his head. "You okay?" she asked Clint, her voice steady.

"Oh, I'm peachy," Clint replied.

Keeping the gun trained on Markovic, who was thrashing on the floor and cursing in Russian, she pulled a knife out of Goon #1's jacket pocket and then crouched beside Clint, cutting his bonds. As soon as his hands were free, he yanked the blindfold off and pushed himself upright.

"I will kill you both," Markovic hissed. "I will make you watch while I torture this bitch, and then I will shoot you between your eyes, yebanat."

Natasha just raised an eyebrow at him. And then she shot his other knee.

"That didn't sound like a very nice name," Clint said, getting to his feet.

"It wasn't. Check my coat pocket," she said to Clint. "It's on the floor in the hall. There are gloves. Then look for an accelerant. I'm guessing there's gasoline here in the basement. Get ready to torch the place."

Clint thought for a second about protesting and staying with her, but he knew she had the situation under control. Anyway, interrogation was more her specialty than his. He got to his feet and stepped out into the hall, retrieving a pair of latex gloves from her pocket and shrugging into his own coat to get ready for a quick getaway. There was a garage next door to the room they had been in, and he found several full fuel cans there.

He studiously ignored Markovic's screams as he splashed gasoline in strategic spots in the basement and up the stairs to the ground floor. Another gunshot rang out as he hurried back to the basement.

Natasha met him in the hallway, her expression neutral. "He gave up the location of his warehouse," she said curtly, pulling her coat back on. "We can call it into Coulson. I think it's too big for the two of us to handle, and anyway, Fury's been working with the Russian authorities to try to catch this guy."

"Do you have a light, baby?" he asked in his best Bogart voice, and she cracked a small smile, pulling a lighter out of her coat.

"Let's get out of here," she said.

They took one of Markovic's cars -- Clint felt a little guilty for torching the other beautiful sports cars, but he supposed that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet -- and Natasha dropped the lighter as they pulled out of the underground garage.

"Excellent choice, by the way," he commented, running his hand over the dashboard of the Ferrari Enzo. "You have fine taste in cars, Agent Romanoff."

"Thank you, Agent Barton," she replied.

They waited outside the gates until the house was blazing, and then Natasha put the Ferrari in gear and drove back into Moscow.

They ditched the car in a ritzy neighborhood and caught a cab outside of a busy nightclub, heading first to Natasha's apartment so she could clean it out. He helped her wipe the place down for fingerprints before they took another cab back to his hotel.

As soon as Clint had locked the door behind them, Natasha checked him for any injuries beyond some bumps and bruises, but found nothing. She seemed to be fine save for a few scrapes from the fight. The dried blood on her hands had to be from Markovic and his men. While Natasha went to the bathroom to shower, Clint changed into a clean set of clothes, tugging on his coat. He gathered the clothes they had been wearing that night and placed them in a plastic shopping bag. A flash of black on his suit trousers caught his eye, and he tugged Natasha's thong out of the pocket. After a second's hesitation, he stuffed them into his jeans pocket and went downstairs.

Outside, the sky had evolved from that pre-dawn bluish grey to what would shape up to be a clear, sunny day. Clint walked down to the end of the street and casually dropped the bag in a trashcan. He turned the corner and made a trip around the back of the hotel, keeping an eye out for any possible interested onlookers. They had done their job well and not enough time had passed to raise suspicion on Markovic's disappearance, so he should be in the clear, but he learned his lesson about letting his guard down even for a second.

Clint removed his clothes as soon as he was back in the hotel room and went into the bathroom to shower. He found Natasha braced against the wall, her head bent forward as the water poured down her back. Something about the way she held herself startled him – she looked so vulnerable.


Her shoulders jumped slightly at his voice, and she looked over at him before stepping out from under the water. Clint opened his mouth to say something as she removed a towel from the rack and dried off, but she took the opportunity to speak, "Left you some hot water. Did you trash the clothes?"

"Uh, yeah, took care of it."

"Good," she said, wrapping her hair up in the white towel, and walked out of the bathroom.

Clint decided to leave her alone and stepped into the shower stall. The water was almost too hot for him to stand, but he withstood the initial sting until it had begun to feel good, loosening up the knots in his back and shoulders. His head still hurt like a bitch and he could feel a sizable goose egg forming where Markovic or one of his goons had cold-cocked him at the apartment, but the shower helped. The only thing the water couldn't ease was his concern for Natasha. They had been on some tough missions together, but he had never seen her like this.

Natasha was sitting on the bed when he came out of the shower, still naked with her damp hair pulled over one shoulder. Clint grabbed one of the robes from the closet, walking over to the bed and sat down beside Natasha. When he tried to place it over her shoulders, she tensed up and told him to stop. The robe fell from his hands into a white pile of terrycloth on the comforter. He wasn't going to let her shut down on him.

"You look cold," Clint said.

"I can take care of myself, Barton," she snapped, still refusing to face him. "I want to go to sleep."

"Not until you tell me what has you so rattled. This isn't like you. We've been on way more dangerous missions than this, and it's always rolled off of you like nothing," he said.

"We're getting too close!" Natasha exclaimed, finally turning to face him. The vulnerability she had displayed just moments before in the shower didn't hold a candle to the completely exposed look of fear on her face. "I can't... I can't lose you as a partner, and I think this just proves that we can't work together and continue sleeping together without our personal lives getting in the way of doing our jobs."

"Tash, that was a mistake. We let our guards down last night, but we still finished the mission," Clint said and tried his best not to sound just as terrified as she looked.

"What if it happens again and one of us ends up dead?"

"We accepted that risk when we signed up to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. There's always a chance one or both of us could end up dead, but don't even think for a second I'm not just as scared as you are about this."

Natasha shook her head. "If we hadn't let our feelings get in the way, we would have known Markovic was up to something tonight, and you wouldn't have nearly been shot," she said and stopped to take a deep breath. "This has to end. When we get back to New York, we're just partners and nothing more. I can't have your death be because of me."

"So if we were to pretend nothing ever happened between us, would you feel any differently if someone has a gun in my face?" Clint asked in an unexpectedly loud tone of voice. He spoke more softly but no less firmly as he continued, "Because even if we're not lovers, Tash, I will do anything to protect you."

Natasha turned away from him. "I don't need you to protect me."

"I know you don't," he said, shoving a hand back through his hair in exasperation. "But I care about you so goddamn much, and I'm going to do everything I can to back you up. That is what partners do. If you want to go back to the way things were, we will, but I am never going to stop loving you."

She looked at him again, eyes wide and her mouth hanging open in shock, but she said nothing. Instead, Natasha rose and walked over to the window, her arms crossed over her bare chest. Fuck, Clint thought and scrubbed a hand over his face. That had just been the cherry on top of the royal mess he had made of the mission and their partnership that week. Yet, he couldn't stop himself from leaving well enough alone and walking over to Natasha. He hesitated just a moment before settling his hands on her shoulders.

"Natasha," Clint began to say without any idea of how to follow it. Her shoulders were shaking ever so slightly beneath his hands. He wrapped his arms around her and was happy to not feel her stiffen or push him away. "I really fucked this up and I'm sorry."

Natasha turned in the circle of his arms, the expression of fear and doubt on her face replaced by something else that Clint couldn't quite put his finger on. There were unshed tears shining in her green eyes as she reached up with both hands to hold his face, rising up onto her toes. Relief washing over him, he smiled and allowed himself to be kissed.

"What about protocol?" she whispered, breaking the kiss. "We're supposed to avoid romantic attachments--"

"Fuck protocol. You think Coulson isn't hiding a wife somewhere?" he said.

"How do you know that?"

"I have ways, woman," Clint said and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, grinning.

"Call me ‘woman' again and I'm going for my gun, Barton."

"You know you love it," he teased, "I saw your pupils dilate a little."

Natasha narrowed her eyes, which should have him running for cover, but Clint continued smirking at her. She tugged him back down to reclaim his mouth, her tongue slipping eagerly past his lips. Clint arms tightened around Natasha's small frame as he matched her fervor in the kiss. They moved back toward the bed, not stopping until Clint felt the mattress at the backs of his knees. With both hands, Natasha urged him down to the bed and moved into his lap, her knees pressing into the comforter on either side of him. She held onto his shoulders and let out an almost inaudible sigh when his hands returned to her body. A single, clear thought came to him despite the drug-like haze that her kissing induced in him.

"Are you sure about this?" Clint asked and reached up to touch her cheek.

"If I weren't, we wouldn't be doing this," Natasha replied calmly, and he felt a surge of desire invade his body.

Growling, Clint kissed her roughly, his hand fisting in her long, damp hair. Natasha moaned into the kiss and wrapped her arms around his shoulders to keep the two of them as close as possible. Every inch of her skin against his felt like the warm satin. Clint loved how seamlessly Natasha went from being the one in control to the one allowing herself to have the breath kissed out of her and held tightly. She inhaled a sharp, quiet breath when Clint pressed a line of kisses along her throat. He could already feel how wet she was as she sat in his lap. Her breath was hot against his ear as she told him to sit back against the headboard.

Clint followed his orders without hesitation.

Natasha settled back into his lap once Clint was in place against the upholstered headboard. He ran his hands up her sides and watched a visible shiver tremble through her. She gasped when he cupped her breasts, dragging his palms over her already-hard nipples, and her fingers tightened on his shoulders. She was so sensitive to his touch; even the briefest brush of his skin against her nipples made her jerk with pleasure.

She let out a soft moan and pressed her mouth to his, her tongue stroking against his own in a way that made him feel a little dizzy. He loved kissing her, loved the taste of her, and the feel of her soft lips. Gently, he stroked over her ivory skin, still marveling at the smoothness of it beneath his callused fingers. Natasha made a frustrated sound, breaking the kiss in order to speak.

"Not gonna break, you know," she said.

Clint smiled, laughing quietly. "I know."

Their mouths reconnected more urgently this time, a strong undercurrent of need driving the kiss. Clint needed to touch her and feel that she was alive. He had to feel her pulse quicken when he pressed his mouth to her throat and hear the way her breathing grew shallow as she rode him. He wanted to taste the salt on her skin, smell the spicy scent of her arousal, and most of all, he wanted to see the look on her face as she reached climax, shaking and falling apart in his arms.

Natasha circled her hips against his hardening cock, making it abundantly clear what she wanted. God, she's so wet, Clint thought at the hot, slick feel of her pussy against his dick. With her right hand, she began to coax him to full hardness using a series of firm strokes. His eyes rolled back in his head as she touched him.

"Oh," he groaned, sliding his hands around to grip her ass. "God, I want you, Tash."

His head had fallen back against the headboard, and she pressed her mouth to the hollow of his collarbone, her tongue tracing a hot path up his neck. He couldn't take it anymore; he had to be inside of her.

Natasha rose to her knees, steadying herself with her free hand on his shoulder while the other held his cock. He stared at her surprisingly calm face as she made her move. With a deliberate and agonizing slowness, she sank down onto his shaft until she was fully seated, her heat tightly enveloping him. A pleasant sigh escaped her when she settled into place, and her eyes slipped closed for the briefest of moments. The room was bathed in golden sunlight. Her skin glowed in the morning brightness, giving her an almost unearthly beauty. She touched his cheek gently, a calm and satisfied smile on her face, and she began to rock her hips.

Planting his heels against the mattress, he bent his knees, forcing her body even closer to him. Wrapping his arms around her, he splayed his hands across her back, encouraging her to move slowly against him. Her pace was agonizing, but it was so good to feel the slick warmth of her body around him. Her head dropped back, leaving her neck bare and waiting for him, and he couldn't resist pressing his mouth against her pale skin. The sound which came from her was quieter than he had imagined, sounding more like a soft gasp than anything. Clint felt her fingers gripping his hair, demanding more.

Clint didn't need much encouraging. He trailed hot kisses along her jawline, gently setting his teeth into her skin and enjoying the low moan that resulted. Sliding his hands down to her hips, he encouraged her to move a little faster, a little harder. Natasha let out a shaky breath and rolled her hips, pressing herself firmly against his groin.

"Oh... oh god, Tasha," he groaned, pressing his face against her shoulder. "So good."

Tugging at his hair, she pulled his head back so she could kiss him deeply, her hands moving to frame his face. He stroked his tongue against hers, locking his arms around her back, so desperate to be closer to her. He wanted to press every inch of her skin against his, wrap himself around her and never let go. Her movements eased off, and through the haze of desire, he realized that she was trembling in his arms.

"What?" Clint asked, suddenly worried. "What is it?"

He drew back a little, but she leaned into him, touching her forehead to his, brushing noses with him. "Tash, are you okay?" he whispered, stroking her back.

"I..." Natasha began to say, her voice faltering.

"Baby," he breathed. "It's--"

"I love you," she said softly, her eyes closed tight.

Clint reached up to gently touch her cheek because he needed to see her eyes right now. His breath had caught in his chest, and he was a little startled to realize that his own hands were shaking.

"Natasha," he breathed, and she caught her lower lip between her teeth.

Clint pulled back a little, and she took a deep breath before opening her eyes. She looked so vulnerable, as if saying those three words had just stripped her bare and shattered all of her defenses. For a second, Clint was dumbstruck. He couldn't think of anything that he could say that would reassure her, so he did the only thing he knew might help -- he sank his hands into her hair and pulled her into a deep kiss. He thought, too, that kissing her might help calm down his own heart, which was attempting to pound its way out of his chest, but that was a foolish idea. The feel of her lips against his, her tongue slipping into his mouth, made his heart beat so fast that he felt the room start to spin. Natasha shuddered, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as if she were holding on for dear life, and returned the kiss.

He brought his hands up to frame her face, pulling back in order to get a good look at her. Tears welled at the corners of her eyes, intensifying the emerald color of her irises. She let out a breath of laughter, and she leaned forward to rest her forehead against his. Clint let his arms slip down to wrap around her body.

"I love you, Natasha," he said with a smile, brushing his nose against hers once more.

She kissed him again, harder this time, her teeth catching at his bottom lip, and he groaned, pulling her as close as he could. A renewed swell of desire rose in Clint and he canted his hips, making Natasha gasp into the kiss. He grinned.

Natasha could take it from there, settling her hands on his shoulders as she moved her hips forward and back. Needing to keep his hands on her body, Clint grasped the swell of her hips but allowed her to remain in control of her movements. With a frustrated noise, she grabbed his wrists and brought his hands up to her breasts.

"Touch me," she moaned, her breath hitching when he dragged his thumbs over her nipples.

Her eyes slammed shut when he rolled her nipples between his fingers and thumbs, her movements taking on a desperate urgency. He had to close his own eyes for a second to regain control over his traitorous body, which was ready to come right then, no matter what his brain thought about the situation. She grasped his shoulders again, her grip tight enough to hurt a little, and he opened his eyes to see her face contorted with pleasure and intense concentration. Bending forward, Clint cupped her breast and sucked her nipple into his mouth, flicking his tongue against it, and she cried out.

"Oh god, Clint," she gasped, sinking her hand into his hair and grinding her hips against him.

She tugged sharply at his scalp, and he released her nipple, falling back against the headboard. She leaned against him, pressing her breasts against his chest and burying her face in the curve of his neck. Her movements were becoming unsteady, her thrusts against him stuttering and uneven.

Her lips brushed against his ear as she spoke, voice all but torn to shreds, "Say it again."

Wrapping his arms tightly around her, he pressed a kiss against her collarbone. "Love you, Tasha," he groaned, hitching his hips up underneath her.

The trembling in Natasha's body came to a breaking point at those three words, and Clint watched as she cried out, shaking as she climaxed. He ran his hands up and down her back as she trembled in his lap. He held her as she shuddered against him, desperately trying to hold onto his self-control. A pretty, crimson flush colored her fair skin, and strands of her long hair clung to her face, damp with the sweat of her brow. Clint reached up and pushed it from her face with a fond smile. She leaned into his touch with a soft smile.

Leaning forward, Natasha kissed him until he felt his own body begin to tremble with barely restrained desire. "Want you to come inside of me," she purred.

Clint groaned helplessly, and securing her with one arm around her body, he flipped their positions, pushing her back against the headboard. The new angle at which he thrust into her caused both of them to cry out in surprise. Natasha set her feet against the mattress and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, still unsteady as she came down from her orgasm. He thrust in deep and stayed there for a moment, pinning her against the headboard. She was so goddamn beautiful that he couldn't resist kissing her full, parted lips and sucking on her tongue until she moaned, digging her fingers into his back.

The feel of her body trembling around him and the desperation in the way she held him made it impossible for Clint to hold back any longer. He took hold of the top of the headboard and drove himself into her over and over again, letting her gasps and moans wash over him in a blur of pleasure. The pressure that had building steadily within him suddenly reached its limit when he felt her pussy go tight around his cock. Natasha's body shuddered again as she came a second time, crying out his name, and Clint lost it.

He gave a few shallow thrusts as he spilled into her, groaning low in his throat, and had to drop his forehead to rest on her shoulder. He shook against her, straining for breath as his climax went on and on, finally banking in a rush of heat that scorched him from head to toe. Natasha smoothed her hands over his back, and he could her labored breathing as she pressed a kiss against the top of his head. Finding the last vestige of strength in his body, Clint wrapped his arms around Natasha and rolled onto his back with her splayed out on top of him. She whimpered softly against his chest when his spent cock slipped from her body, and she wrapped her arms tightly around him.

For a long while, neither of them spoke as they laid there in the warm morning light which poured in through the windows. Natasha raised her head to look at Clint, and he laughed at the mess of red hair sticking up.

"What's so funny?" she demanded.

"This rat's nest on your head," he told her and gently combed the unruly, wavy hair with his fingers. "Very unprofessional."

Natasha laughed and moved up to kiss him. "I love you," she whispered.

Holding her close, he rolled them onto their sides, and she tucked herself against him, pressing her lips against his chest. "Love you back," he sighed, burying his face in her hair.


By two o'clock that afternoon, Clint and Natasha were on a private plane back to New York. Natasha hadn't bothered putting on any of Natalya's dresses -- much to Clint's disappointment -- but had opted for a more comfortable-looking pair of jeans and thick knit sweater. She had started working on her report once they were in the air while Clint decided to try to get some more sleep. When he woke, he found her asleep with her head resting on his shoulder.

He knew he should let her sleep -- hell, they both needed more sleep -- but he couldn't resist brushing his fingertips against the soft skin of her cheek. He still couldn't quite believe that she loved him. He absolutely believed her, of course, but they had spent so long dancing around each other that it was hard to adapt to suddenly being in a world in which Natasha Romanoff was in love with him

She stirred when he touched her and pushed herself upright, dragging one hand over her face. "Clint?" she murmured.

"You were drooling on me," he said, and she shot him a raised eyebrow.

"How long was I asleep?" she asked.

"Dunno," he said. "A couple of hours, maybe."

He rested his hands in his lap, but something was bulging in his pocket. Lifting his hips a little, he stuck his hand in and came out with Natasha's lacy black thong. Her eyes widened and she slapped her hands over his, forcing them back into his lap. "You saved my panties?" she whispered.

A blush had spread across her cheeks, and he grinned. "I certainly did," he rumbled.

"Why would you do that?" she hissed.

He couldn't resist tweaking her just a little bit more. "They looked expensive?"

She glared at him for a second, but he could see a smile lurking at the corner of her mouth. "Try again, hotshot," she said.

"Okay. They're extremely sexy. I wanted a souvenir from our trip to Moscow. Do either of those reasons work?"

"Mm, I suppose," she said, stretching out her back. "I need to finish my report."

"So," Clint said, resting his chin on her shoulder. "What are you going to put in there? I mean, how are you going to deal with the, uh, details?"

"I'm going to tell the truth," she said, her lips curving into a faint smile. "That you confessed your undying affection to me, and we spent S.H.I.E.L.D.'s money on expensive booze and strippers."

"Oh, and we also took out Markovic. Don't forget that part."

"Minor detail."

The smile on her lips got bigger, and she leaned over to give him a quick kiss. "I'm going to tell Coulson that you played your part as the arrogant American rich boy well, and that your appearance provided a catalyst for Markovic to make his move. We both maintained our covers, which pushed Markovic to kidnap Natalya and Alex, and at his house, we took control of the situation. Got the location of his warehouse, killed him, escaped."

"And they lived happily ever after," Clint added, grunting when she dug an elbow into his ribs.

"I think we need to lay down some ground rules," she said, suddenly businesslike, and Clint gave her a wary look.

"Ground rules?"

"Yes," she said, flipping open her laptop. "No kissing, making out, or other intimate behavior on S.H.I.E.L.D. premises. Save it for the bedroom, Barton."

"Aw, you're taking all the fun out of life," he complained. "You can't tell me you haven't fantasized about having sex on the conference table in Fury's office."

She gave him a look out of the corner of her eye. "You'll have to put in a request if you'd like to bend the rules," she said. "At least twenty-four hours in advance, and then any rule-bending will happen at my discretion."

Checking to make sure the flight attendant wasn't watching, Clint slid a hand into her hair, pulling her into a scorching kiss that left her breathless. "Understood," he murmured with a grin.