Luck Won't Last

June 11, 2014: Clint and Natasha discuss an albino thorn in their side.

Barton's Apartment

Bachelor apartment.



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Mood Music:


Thunderstorms are called for all week, up until and potentially including Friday. So, for those that have made a home in the City, there really isn't much to do but to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. Only those who -have- to be out and about brave the occasional downpour, which usually includes tourists and certain SHIELD agents that have a need to keep to schedule and work out.

Only recently back to his somewhat disheveled apartment (there are little bits of 'bright spots' that look as if it had a woman's touch some time ago), Clint is down on his sofa and leaning forward to crack open a beer to go with his choice of the day- 'homemade' (out of a box) mac and cheese. As if evidence is required, the dried cheese package is still resting on the side of the stove and a slight coating of the powder can be picked up should a finger be run through the general area. Off to the side of the couch, his gymbag rests, his archery equipment hanging on a wall on the inside wall of his bedroom door, his service piece sitting on the table within arm's length.


"So…" Natasha says, letting the door close behind her (like it's going to stop her?) as she pads into the living room, "I see you're still enjoying the bachelor's life." She shoves a pile of old newspapers off of another chair and then perches on the edge as if the seat cushion were never revealed.


The tenant of the apartment wouldn't stop her, anyway. Maybe the ex-, but that time's since passed.

Clint looks up from his bowl of still warm cheesy-goodness, spoon in left hand half-lifted with noodles, bowl in right. Gesturing towards the kitchen and the pot on the burner, "Some left over. All yours if you want it." With that, he takes the bite, chews and swallows before he softly snorts a laugh, "Loving every day. Every day, a day in paradise."

A few moments pass when the most important thing is to finish shovelling the macaroni into his mouth, and finally, when done, washes it down with the beer that's on the table. Leaning back in his seat, Clint looks as if he's about to say something, then… nothing. Instead, a swallow of beer is taken, and he leans forward, elbows on his legs, the bottle cradled between lean fingers. "The other day?" Blue eyes lift to look at the woman who's probably the only one who could truly understand the weight and import of what is coming. "I missed."


Natasha laughs lightly. "'Sall yours," she replies. "I ate before I came." Safer, obviously. She leans back against the chair, until his unexpected confession. "I'm sorry?" A slender brow arches. Her expression becomes more serious, more focused. "What happened? Exactly."


"Put some hot sauce on it, It's not too bad. I think I've got some sriracha."

Hawk shrugs, but it's hardly dismissive. But, it's silent speak for 'does it really matter?'. "The op when I came in.. you were there. Just finished the recon on the island, and there was a box that was getting moved. Domino was there, and once Sharkboy and the blowhard, Whirlwind were .. dealt with, we got the hell out of there. Of course, I wanted the box and so did she. We got into it, and as she was headed into the woods with the thing, I got a shot off." And that was the one he missed.

"I should have gotten her. It was a perfect shot. She tripped, twisted an ankle or something, and the arrow kept going." Split the sapling.. it had some serious force behind it.


It matters to Natasha, yes. Because she knows what it is to miss unexpectedly. "Domino…" she says, a darkness in her tone. Her lips purse slightly. "She's remarkably lucky, that one, I've noticed." And there's that tone that suggests she's got a hundred different puzzle pieces spinning through her mind, assembling, reassembling, and shifting like a kaleidoscope. "Very, very lucky, I've noticed."


Clint takes a deep breath and exhales sharply before he lifts the bottle to his lips and takes a long draught. Once half the bottle is gone, he brings it back down. "This really has to stop. She's really beginning to piss me off. That's .. at least 3 ops she's screwed up for me." A barked laugh exits the man and he nods, "Luck. I swear the woman lives and breathes it." He -doesn't- miss, or rather, never did until a couple of days ago.

"Tash," the archer leans back again, one arm resting on the couch arm, the other holding the beer, resting on the cushion. "We've gotta bring her in. I have to bring her in, or this is gonna eat at me."


"No argument here," Natasha says, regarding her partner seriously. "I can't confirm it. All I have is a hunch based on a dozen tells… not even 'clues'. But, I've spent time pouring over footage and reports from Madripoor and dozens of other ops collected by Interpol, MI-5, Mossad, the SVR," i.e. the modern KGB, "the MSS," i.e. China's service, "and others — our own ops included. Clint, she's always lucky. Every single time. She's avoided my shots, never mind yours. When I was barely 3 yards away. She survived a swan dive out of the 60th floor of the Triskelion into the East River. I have no proof, because genetic work ups are never that specific, but you want my gut reaction? My gut is saying luck is her mutant ability. I can't prove it. But that's what I'm seeing."


"Great," is groused. "Mutant ability is luck. I swear, I know I hit her before." Now, the archer is beginning to doubt himself more, even with the overwhelming 'proof' that sits before him in the form of his partner's research. "How the hell am I supposed to grab her if…"

Pausing in his words, Clint lifts the bottle to empty it. By the time it's down, he's looking at Tash once again, and there's a -look-. One that could possibly tell her he might have a burgeoning plan. "Mutant. We're still underfunded in that area, but dammit.. the SRD isn't."


Natasha cants her head at that thought. "True," she agrees. "They know just how to deal with that sort of thing. One thing I have noticed is that Domino's luck isn't perfect. It keeps her alive. It doesn't guarantee her success… So the SRD… they might have a chance." And a good one.


"Now," Nat has Clint's full attention, and pushing up, he gets to his feet. Much easier to think and pace than just sit and think. "Okay, if her luck isn't perfect, that it just keeps her alive, how can we mess with that? How could we set it up that she's caught between two … two choices, and neither is particularly welcome. But, yeah. The SRD'd have more of a chance. We'd just have to figure out a way to keep them on the leash and do this for us." Because, well.. SHIELD kinda-sorta trumps SRD, but not always. A delicate political balance; a squirm to the right or a wiggle to the left could mean the difference between rousing success and dismal failure.

Clint's pacing leads him behind his couch, and leaning to rest both hands there, his gaze lands fully upon his partner. "We need bait."


Natasha considers the question. She slides off the arm of the chair, onto the cushion itself, one leg crossing almost liquidly over the other as she does, her arms falling gracefully onto the arms of the chair. Her expression is still pensive. "Overwhelming firepower?" Perhaps not. She chuckles dryly, since it was more of a joke. "SRD isn't going to take kindly to being SHIELD's watchdog," she says after a moment. "But, if we tip them off she's in the country, give them a rundown of her crimes against America," because the SRD doesn't care about the world, "and suggest to them that they're welcome to her, I expect they might take that bait… which means all we'd need to do is dangle something appropriate in front of her. And, by appropriate, I mean something that includes a generous payout and lots of potential explosions — unless I miss my guess. Play her against them, and then step in afterward and offer to 'make it all go away'." She's done this bait-and-switch before. Often. This is not new ground for. Merely new prey. "Domino isn't stupid. She'll only come if the job looks genuine. Slightest sniff of any of us — you, me, Evelyn… even May or Coulson — and she'll bolt. Any SHIELD presence at all will scare her off. I've played this game before. I've been her before. I'd jackrabbit, too, were I here. We'll need to close off her escape routes and make sure the only one left open is really, really lucky for her."


Clint watches as his partner makes herself comfortable and nods, his head dropping as he listens to her words. He's been in that same position, too; contracts have to -feel- right. It's not just the money behind the contract- it's the -fun-, the rush of doing something that others couldn't even dream of doing. A chuckle is chuffed and his head shakes at her joked suggestion.

"Nah.. she probably already has it."

Though, "I'm willing to guess the SRD already has a file on her a few blocks long. Only problem is, she's probably not on their radar like she's on ours." Mine. "We need to put her in a position and tip the SRD, and have something for -both- of them." A thin smile creeps across his face and he straightens slowly before running a hand through mostly dry, short hair. "Or, we get her to take a good look inside the SRD and give her a offer she can't refuse. We get the mutant and insider info on the mutant ops of the SRD."

"You're right. Can't be any of us. She'll know it and she'll run. Though, she's taken a perverse pleasure in taunting me." After all, they've crossed paths -how many times- now? "I could do it, but I wouldn't be able to be in the planning because I'll send some tell." And screw up the op. Being truly surprised is a lot easier than acting.

"Thoughts as to who could pull it off?"


Natasha wrinkles her nose faintly, considering. Realistically, she probably could pull it off. But with Domino's luck, something would go wrong and the albino would get the tip-off. "Let me think about it," she tells her partner now. "I've still got some discrete contacts that might be far enough removed to make the anonymous contact we need." Widow has more contacts than just about anyone else on the roster… much to Hill's annoyance. "I'll go through my rolodex." Not that there actually is a rolodex. But, the point stands.


"I'll go through mine, too." While not as extensive a list as Tash's, Clint's isn't small by any measure either. Most of them, however, are operatives; lower level guys that he's worked with side by side, so to speak. "There's.. crap. No. I need to get some sleep and think on this in the morning, I think."

Gesturing to the couch, Clint's brows rise, "If you need to, bed's free. I can crash out here." It's a friendly offer; there've been many times before and probably will be many times again. "But," and does he really have to say it? "Thanks for talking. If nothing else, it makes me feel a little better. Though now, I'll probably end up staying awake anyway, carving her damned name into a pile. The arrow just for her."


Natasha chuckles softly. "When you take her down, carve it into your bow." Sounds confident, doesn't she? She pushes to her feet, regardless. "Alright, you get some sleep. I've still got a couple of things I need to take care of before I crash for the night, so I'll leave you to it." She flashes him an easy smile and starts picking her way toward the door. "Call me, if you think of anything. I'll let you know what I come up with."

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