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Clint spends most of the next morning getting yelled at by Fury and spoken to sarcastically by Coulson for the whole playground debacle. It’s not entirely unwarranted, but he feels petulant and sulky when he’s finally freed, so he goes and breaks into Natasha’s room for a visit even though he’s not supposed to.

Since he’s not actually an idiot (Fury) or harboring a secret desire to be reassigned to Siberia (Coulson) what this actually means is that he sneaks up to Natasha’s door, knocks quietly, and says “Hey, Natasha? It’s Clint. Is it okay if I come in for a minute?” and then waits for her to say yes before going in. But it’s still not something he’s supposed to do, so yeah. He’s a rebel.

The room is mostly bare, but there are some throw pillows and candles and shit scattered around so it comes off more like a yoga studio than a containment cell. Natasha’s sitting lotus-style in the center of the room with her eyes half-closed; Clint takes a moment to be impressed that Bruce’s legs can do that, because his own sure can’t. He makes his way over and sits down too, far enough away that he has a reasonable chance of making it to the door if she Hulks out again.

“Hey,” Natasha says.


They sit in silence for a moment. Clint’s not sure how good her control is, so he decides to let her set the pace.

“How’s the team doing?” Natasha asks finally, her voice low and even.

“Okay. Kind of freaked.” He watches her closely. “Did they tell you what happened to everyone?”

Natasha shakes her head. “Not really. Coulson said the others had been affected but they were okay. Give me some details.”

Clint hides an apprehensive wince. “Steve’s not a super-soldier any more.” That seems to go over okay. “Tony’s a woman.” That gets him a smile.

“Give me a sec.”

He waits patiently as she breathes, deep and even, and stops smiling.

“Sorry,” she says after a moment. “For some reason Bruce’s body is a lot more sensitive to changes in heart rate with me in control. Pepper says Bruce thinks it might be because his body’s trying to reject my consciousness on some level. Keep going.”

Clint eyes her worriedly. “Thor’s unconscious - magic coma. And Loki’s a little kid.”

She frowns a little and then carefully smooths out her expression. It’s weird to see her like this - besides the fact, of course, that she’s currently in Bruce’s body, which is its own level of special weirdness, Natasha’s all about control. If Clint were to pick anyone on the team with enough self-possession to keep from Hulking out, actually, it would be her. They should all probably be thanking their lucky stars that Bruce hadn’t been standing next to Tony when Loki’s device blew.

“Kid Loki. That must be fun.”

Clint shrugs. “It’s not so bad, actually. He’s a good kid.” When he’s not mobilizing child armies, anyway. Come to think of it... “I actually think you’d like him. He might be your kind of rugrat.”

“Oh God, that is bad,” Natasha snorts, and has to do her breathing exercises again. “How’s Bruce?” she asks when she’s calm again.

“Terrified,” Clint says cautiously. The corner of Natasha’s mouth quirks upwards. “How are you doing?”

“Bored,” Natasha says serenely. “Which irritates me and raises my heart rate. As soon as this is fixed I’m going to do the training obstacle course twice and then scream myself voiceless just because I can. If you don’t fix this I’ll rip off your balls.”

Clint closes his legs reflexively. “Noted,” he says meekly.