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20 July 2012 @ 09:06 pm
FIC: The Line We Walk, rating:PG-13, poly/open, no warnings  
Title: The Line We Walk
Rating: PG-13
Fandom/Ship: Avengers, Clint/Natasha, Tasha/Bucky, Clint/Bucky, implied Natasha/OFC, Tasha/OMC, Clint/OFC
Summary: A look at our two assassins relationship, which is anything but "normal". And not always without it's bumps.
Warnings: Poly relationship and bisexuality if that's a squick.
A/N: Written for the Clint/Natasha prompt-a-thon.

Natasha is not Clint’s. Clint is not Natasha’s. But she is his and he is hers. That’s that. They are a constant, a pattern, something to rely on.

It hadn’t started out like this. They were partners after all and coming together to blow off some tension was a given. Well, maybe that wasn’t normal for most work couples--even assassins. But no one would dare to call the pair of them normal in any sense. The point was, they were a fling. A delightful, no strings attached, good time to wash away some of the aftertaste of particularly souring missions.

It moved from an occasional occurrence to a game. One where Clint would nudge her about the curvaceous blonde secretary who looked like she wanted devour the dear Widow in a single bite. She’d taunt him as they lingered in the shadowy corners of a ballroom about how it was a shame he had to focus on the target instead of the chocolaty legs beneath the silvery dress of the governor’s companion that were just dying to find their way around him. The teasing over comm links during a seduction of a target were too many to count. This playful encouragement always resulted in the final piece of the sport, a comparison analysis.

Over the years, as their partnered missions diminished, the game formed into a habit. It wasn’t bragging anymore, both begrudgingly admitted. It was honesty. There was relief, joy, contentment in the times they were able to be together. Maybe that’s when Clint first realized it had turned into something more. She had become something else to him.

What shocked him the most was that he was okay with their way of life. He enjoyed it, even. He knew Tasha was. She had voiced her opinion on how ridiculousness the concept of exclusiveness was given her life on several occasions. He supposed that made his time with her that more endearing. Why she’d want to come back to a worn down thing like him when she was constantly surrounded by breathtaking people , well, he didn’t want to think about that.

They had fallen into a state of comfort.

Things rarely stayed the same.

Clint wasn’t a fool. He knew he was not the only one who she had spent time with on more than one occasion. He had known that she had on-and-off again traditional relationships in the past. He knew there were those that she’d still saw on and off. There was, at this point, very little he felt he didn’t know about her. He was alright with that. It was just the way it was. He had his own go-tos. They knew what they were, and those who had been around had a vague knowledge that Clint and Tasha’s relationship was just not typical of anything. That didn’t make it deniable.

Except then he came back into the picture. She had held herself together, as if this were the most casual thing in the world. But her old trainer’s reappearance into her life, this time as a reluctant ally, still remained a shadow of a part of history they’d both rather forget. There was baggage there. Unresolved tensions. Feelings. There was an attachment that went deeper than Clint could hope for, bound in an unspeakable way.

He couldn’t pinpoint the day they started sleeping together again, but he could narrow down a margin.

Clint wasn’t positive what pissed him off more: the fact that Bucky didn’t seem to acknowledge him with the same respect that others in their lives did, or that for the first time he was jealous.

Nothing about the situation had been ideal, but their group was only so big. They were top notch, and eventually Clint ended up being sent out with the other man. He didn’t forget the concern that crawled under Tasha’s practiced exterior when she came to him the night before deployment. He tried not to let his displeasure discredit her attentiveness that evening. Then again, it wasn’t that hard. Clint had accepted long ago that she was a weakness for him--one he wouldn’t give up.

Clint was not a believer in plans, but of structure. Plans are ruined and reformed every moment of his life. Which is why the nervous laughter that had erupted from both him and Tasha’s other repeat lover when they had emerged from a freshly leveled complex by the skin of their teeth caught him totally off guard. Not quite as much as the hand on the back of his neck and the mouth that attacked his when they retreated to their room before reassignment did.

He had rejected the motion initially, reminding himself that he hated this man. Clint’s determination diminished when the other challenged him. Come on. Tell me you’re not going crazy, wondering what’s got her caught up. I am. Clint caved, pinning the smaller man to the wall in retaliation.

Clint had been kept away from the base. It was two months before he saw her again. When he did, she was livid. It took him half a day to coax it out of her, even if the suspicion itched under his skin. It was the first argument they had since her recruitment. At least, the only one that had been personal.

“You had no right to do that. To fuck him. Him of all people. Jesus, Clint.” She huffed at him wildly.

“You had a go with Bobbi” He countered, casually. He hadn’t been fond of that. Bobbi was….not Tasha. It wasn’t her usual thing.

“That’s different.”

“Damn right it is!” He huffed. “He’s not just some joy ride for you, Tasha. And if he’s around and you plan on keeping him around, I’m damn well going to see what the hell’s going on there. All this time, we’ve never lied.”

“I never lied to you about Bucky. About what happened. About who I am--you are the only person I have trusted with that, Clint. You’re the only person who hasn’t found out from some piece of paper.” She became defensive.

“Him in the past, Nat!” Clint sat down on the edge of the bed, willing away some of the hostility. “ You never talk about him. Ever. Whatever this is we have--we’ve always been open about it. I get nothing from you. It’s as goods as lying.”

Tasha sat down beside him, face to the wall. They stayed in silence, mulling over the frustration until it leveled out. Natasha started to speak a few times, stopped by her own reluctance.

“I’m not asking you not to….spend time with him…Nat.” Clint finally breathed. “Your other relationships--they’re yours. They’re not ours. That’s not my business in that way. But if you want something different with him--you got to tell me now. I’m not playing a game I don’t know the rules to.”

“Idiot.” Tasha mumbled. Or, as close to in her native tongue. In two fluid motions she swung herself up into his lap.

“I may not talk about him…but I talk about you. If anyone’s getting special treatment…it’s not him, Clint.” She breathed. “He knows where he stands. Believe me. I’m not his only. I don‘t want to be. I can‘t be. I don‘t want to go there again.“

It wasn’t seductive, the way she leaned into him. It wasn’t desperation or guilt, the way she adverted her eyes. It was the search for a pardon, exhaustion from honesty. Clint wrapped his arms around her protectively.

“Just, no more radio silence. Please?”

“Why? You already know all the…details…there.” She tried to hide the hint of a smile.

“Well…I don’t know about all but, you know.” Tasha rolled her eyes and proceeded to distract him from wherever he was going to take that thought.

It had been a hiccup in the road--and not the last. They weren’t perfect. They never were in anything. But what they had? It worked. That was good enough for them. At the end of the day it was always the Widow and her Hawk. It was the in-betweens that could get interesting. And the after that were…complicated.
Frank Batman, of the Wisconsin Batmans_samalander on July 21st, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
Oh, this is so sweet and sad and sad and sweet. Thank you so much for filling the prompt. ♥
Elven Ranger: rangiku-hainightswhisper on July 21st, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry it's not crazy amazing! But if I didn't jump now I probably wouldn't have gotten anything done and I just loved the concept you let me play with. THANK YOU for prompting it!!
Sproidflying_android on July 21st, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
I think what I love most about this is that they're not perfect, and they're not always happy, and things don't always go right. They have to work at their relationships, both the one between then and the ones they have with other people. And it doesn't always work out right, but it does pretty well, and things between them are often good. I can believe that.

I also really liked seeing the evolution of their relationship, and its continuation with all the bumps and rough patches. They seem so human.

This is wonderful and I really like it :)
workerbee73 on July 23rd, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
I really like what you did with this prompt. It felt honest and organic and it just worked with who they are. This line especially:

Why she’d want to come back to a worn down thing like him

--gah. Just wonderfully said and it hit me really hard for some reason. Well done. :)

Edited at 2012-07-23 04:17 pm (UTC)