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"There's red in my ledger," she tells him when he asks her. "And I need to wipe it out."

They don't meet that often. Never have, really. They like each other, sure, they get along - there wouldn't be any meetings at all, otherwise. But it's an intense relationship, heady, strong. It isn't something that should be exposed to the world often.

They have each other on speed dial. They never call though. Texts for when they can meet up.

They keep tabs on each other. They always know where the other one is. Safe houses, contacts - they know everything about each other but themselves.

Sometimes, they have sex. Not always, just when they need to get lost in each other, counting and tracing scars, learning stories about the new ones.

They met trying to kill each other. It was the first time they didn't get a job done.

"You're good," she tells him, accented - Russian. It's a very distinctive accent. "I don't like to kill the good ones."

"Me either," he replies. He stands from his defensive stance and she does the same - a show, and they both know it; either one of them could kill the other as easily from standing still as any position. But they also both know what it means.

They're both weaponless - guns in pieces on the floor; even her strange bracelets have been broken.

"Well then," she purrs. "I should be on my way."

And she turns, and leaves, without looking back, although he has no doubt she could tell his every move. He only watches as she leaves, hips swaying confidently, hidden power in every muscle.

And he smiles.

The second time, they have both been hired by the same person, known as the best of the best. One of them is back up, the other retrieval.

They play rock-paper-scissors, and she wins, lips curving up.

They both end up going in though.

It is the third time they drink together afterwards.

And the fourth.

And the fifth too.

The sixth is a mess, it is horrible, and almost everything that could go wrong, does. It is the first time they fall into each others’ arms, ignoring her tears and his shaking.

The tenth time, she asks him for help. And he gives it to her. And they smile, and pretend nothing is wrong, despite the fact that everything is.

"There's red in my ledger," she tells him when he asks her. "And I need to wipe it out." And she sounds wistful, and honest, and sad.

"SHIELD might help me do that. They might not; they're twisted in their own way, but they try to help. And they're not as twisted as me. And... Clint..."

"I understand," he says, and she smiles at him, looking more wistful then before - because he does, he knows what she is like about debts, it is the only reason they met after the third time. And he knows that she would never betray someone she owes as much as she owes this one.

"Maybe you should come work for them too," she says, looking down into her drink. "Agent Spencer has a nice ring to it."

"You know I won't," he replies. "Too many issues." And she nods, because she already knows everything now. He finishes his drink and gets up. "I'll see you around."

She just smiles as he leaves.

"The Avengers, huh?" he asks.

"Looks like we both have teams now."