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February 2017

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alphaflyer: (Clint shades)
[personal profile] alphaflyer
So, this is still unedited and unbeta'd (meaning not quite ready for prime time/AO3), but I promised it for tonight and I'm already past the deadline, so ...

Warnings in this section for an instance of domestic violence.


She’s nothing like any woman he’s ever met.  If he’s been laying off the booze here, it’s not the impact of S.H.I.E.L.D. constantly preaching ‘No Drinking On The Job Except As Necessary To Maintain Cover’; no, it’s Clint Barton, aware that he needs all his wits about him to keep up with her and not get lost.

Coulson’s words about ‘another asset’ ring in his ear.  Clint’s gut never lies, and he’s pretty much one hundred percent certain that she is it, and that Coulson’s intel was off by one chromosome.  May and Hill are right – their profession is full of men making stupid assumptions.  He’d bet that redhead here has benefited from those once or twice herself.

Not to mention the advantage of a dress like hers -- instant distraction, plus folds to conceal far more weapons than that idiotic monkey suit of his ever could.  (No one would even think to look.)

He can feel her twitch a little when the music starts.  A tell, getting ready for action?  Or does she just feel like dancing?  (Unlikely, he concludes.)  He has to stop his own hand from wandering towards the pocket where he keeps his darts.

The dance floor is filling up.

Now’s as good as any other time. 

“Care to dance?”

Clint is pretty sure that Coulson’s advice to ‘keep an eye out’ didn’t mean to go boogie with the competition, but she seems just as keen to get to the floor as he does.  And if they’re both after the same target -- which seems the most obvious probability, mafias being what they are -- a little collegiality might go a long way.

At the very least, he’s pretty sure she’s not after him.  At least not yet.

She gives him an ironic little smile, one that’s just this shade of a smirk, inclines her head graciously, and holds out her hand to allow him to lead her to the dance floor.

“You’re not carrying a gun,” she whispers in his ear; the chill that he feels has nothing to do with her words, and everything with the touch of her breath.  “So what do you have in that pocket?”

Clint puts his hand on her waist – the muscles are firm and taut, like a gymnast’s or a kick boxer’s.  He can feel them move under his fingers as she sways to the music with the grace of a deer.

“Trade secret,” he whispers back, his lips close to that glorious flame-red hair.  He likes the smell of her shampoo.  “Don’t want to spoil the surprise.”

He allows his fingertips to guide her as they dance, closer and closer to the front of the room where the bridal couple is still doing its turns.   It’s actually pretty easy, since most of the dancers are men who stop to ogle his partner as they pass.  She, in turn, doesn’t resist, and Clint has the distinct feeling that they’re going exactly where she wants to be.  Maybe he’s not such a great lead after all…

“But tell me.  How do you know I’m not packing?”  He can’t resist; having passed the frisk test would be far too easy an answer, and they’re colleagues, after all.

The music slows, and she runs her hand slowly up his waistcoat, right under the flap of the ridiculous jacket.  For a moment, Clint finds himself getting distracted.  Professional, Barton.  You’re a professional.

“Suit,” she says, looking down demurely.  “Nice, sharp, tailored cut.  A girl can always tell where the bulges are.”

They’ve arrived in the center of the room now, where the bride and groom are dancing, side-by-side with her father and an elderly woman who smiles at his own partner.

Jashari is swaying, half leaning on his new wife with one arm.  His free hand is on Jelena’s breasts, pawing and cupping them, fingers digging under the fabric as if he means to rip it off right there.  She squirms out from under his arm, hissing something in Sokovian that Clint roughly translates as “Can’t you even wait, you vile pig?”

In response to her challenge, Jashari hauls out and hits her across the face with the back of his hand, causing her to stumble and fall.

The woman in Clint’s arms flinches and spits out a curse; he releases her immediately.  If ever there was a good time for Dardan Jashari to exit this world, it is now – and it seems like she is as keen to help him along as Clint is.

Clint slides his fingers into the pocket that contains his tiny darts; he pulls one of them out of the foam holding the tips, careful to touch only the tops.  He assumes that his partner is getting her stiletto (or whatever) ready to be deployed, but for now his focus is on the scene before him.

Novakoff is screaming at his daughter – something about family honour – while the older woman he’d been dancing with grips his arm in protest and hurls a curse of her own at Jashari.  Jelena, for her part, sobs that she is no one’s property, and may her father choke on whatever he thinks he is getting from selling her to that …

Clint’s Sokovian isn’t good enough to understand that last bit, but there’s no doubt both he and the red-haired woman would agree with it.

The crowd of dancers has parted, leaving the four main players isolated in the center, like they do in the movies.  Great sight lines.  Clint pinches the dart between his thumb and forefinger and removes his hand from his pocket.

He watches Jashari bend down to yank Jelena back on her feet, and is just about to snap his wrist to let fly, when there is a sudden loud crack.  Jashari is flung back, away from the white figure at his feet.  His face is a bloody mess, and he is dead before he hits the floor.  Jelena, still on the ground, tears streaming down her face, is holding up her little purse with a smoking hole in one corner, pointing it at her father.


The next few minutes are a blur, but the outcome, as far as Clint is concerned, was never in doubt.

Clint finds himself whipping a dart at one of Jashari’s thugs who is brandishing a gun, and pulling the girl off the floor.  A knife appears in the chest of another man, and he follows the hissed, “This way!” without questioning.

Judging by the sounds of fighting erupting around the room, the fight for Jashari’s succession has already begun.

Dragging a stunned Jelena behind him, Clint pulls out two more darts out of his pocket with the other hand.  The two guards at the door go down without him having to deploy them though – his fellow assassin has a highly effective chop, even as she is steering the old lady along.

So that’s the way things are going to be?  Coulson is going to love the report:  “Me and that other assassin broke up a domestic, rescued two civilians. Sokovian economy saved without my help.”

The darts do come in handy, though, when they get to the parking lot; there are several thugs between them and Clint’s rented SUV.  Word about Jashari’s death has spread quickly, and people seem inclined to shoot anyone in sight.

What a country.

His companion helps the old lady into the car – it’s pretty obvious that she is as happy to be out of there as the shell-shocked bride, if only to hold her hand and whisper things that Clint can’t hear.

“You coming?” he asks his … colleague, partner, whatever she is.  “I got evac ten miles from here.  Could get you a ride, maybe a job.”

She smiles, a little wistfully (or so he’d like to think).

“Can’t, thanks.  Although I have to admit, I’d like to know what you threw at those guys.  Maybe some day.”

And with that, she gives a little salute and melts into the night.  He doesn’t follow her, not even with his eyes.  But as they are peeling out of the parking lot, the old lady in the back seat says what Clint is thinking:

“I never did learn that young woman’s name.”



Maria Hill takes the file off the Director’s desk.  It is thick, marked Level 7, and the words “Black Widow” are written on the spine with thick magic marker.  A mix between old-fashioned and high-tech, is S.H.I.E.L.D., with the boss favouring the classics at the oddest times.

“I assume you’ have read Barton’s report form the Sokovia mission, sir?”

Sokovia mission.  A euphemism for clusterfuck.  Granted, the head of Sokovia’s mafia and its most corrupt politician were dead, together with a bunch of their minions, but S.H.I.E.L.D. had also ended up with two civilians in the witness protection program -- a completely avoidable expense -- and Natasha Romanoff would know Barton on sight.

“I have,” Fury drawls.

Maria ploughs on, as is her duty.

“And do you still think he is the right man to send after Romanoff? The Council…”

“…. wants a success.  I know.  Pierce told me himself.  We can’t have a KGB-trained assassin freelancing on S.H.I.E.L.D. territory.  He told me that, too.”

Fury puts his booted feet on the desk before continuing.  In some cultures, Maria knows, showing the soles of your feet is considered a mortal insult.  For Nick Fury, it’s a sign that he considers himself at home, and comfortable.

“I’m pretty sure that Barton will do the right thing.”

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