Taking Initiative

July 23, 2014: Hawkeye and Widow finally get a chance for downtime and talk.

Upper West Side, NYC - Hawkeye's apartment

An apartment.



  • None

Mood Music:

Clint's place. It's a lesson in opposites. It's decorated, and in some cases, looks very much like a woman's touch, only there are patches where a 'mark' has been made that brands it a bachelor's pad. There are a few who may know why, and at what point in time it became so. Curtains are on the windows of this apartment, pictures on the wall, knick-knacks set up on shelves that are in desperate need of dusting.

Clint is coming back from the kitchen, a bottle of beer in each hand, and as he reaches the couch, leans to hand one over. "So, learned some Kurdish in the last couple of days," is given in a seemingly light-hearted tone. "I happened to hear 'dayk heez' a lot." Son of a bitch. "You know, that's usually the best place to start in learning any language."

Now, Clint sits heavily down on his chair, looking tired now that he's stopped moving. (Jet lag is a bitch… and he just got back from Kurdish Turkey earlier in the day.)


Natasha leans against a wall by the door looking out on the balcony. She glances over her shoulder at Clint's comment. A wry smile touches her lips. "How many languages do you know that phrase in, now?" she asks, brow arching lightly. She then pushes away from the wall and the door, picking her way easily though the piles to settle more conversationally into a chair nearby.

"One… two… four. Um.. I think every single country I've visited, I've found something to carry away." And it's usually a curse. Okay, always a curse simply because it usually -feels- right given situations. Most situations. "Gotta admit, it's come in handy."

Looking up at her, Clint watches as 'Tash settles into the chair. Blue eyes settle on the woman whom he'd call his best friend, and taking a swig of his beer, he leans forward, elbows on his knees. He takes a deep breath before cradling the bottle in hand. "Can I ask you something? I mean, you don't have to answer or anything…" he begins. "But what the hell is going on? May is coming in with street thugs and teleporters wanted by Interpol, I've got Hill asking -me-, of all people, to keep an eye on -you-. It's like… the place has gone to hell and I'm standing in the middle, wondering where everyone went."


"Given some of the strays you've brought in," the Russian notes, "May's aren't that out of place." She, herself, after all, was actually on Clint's kill list, at one time. And the number of agencies that want her is… impressive. Even still.

Indeed, Natasha's brows don't rise until Clint mentions Hill. "I'm going to assume from your tone," not to mention her own ingrained paranoia, "that it's not my personal well-being she's asking you to watch." She watches his face for the needless confirmation. Her expression flattens… something like a cat's just as its tail tip starts twitching irritably. "She doesn't like me, Clint. Never has. Probably never will. I'm Russian, I'm a defector, and I'm a better spy than she'll ever be." They both know the DepDir makes a much better soldier than she does a spy. "And I've got a higher security clearance than her. The Old Man trusts me with things he won't even hint to her about. Why do you think she wants you to keep an eye on me?"

Natasha knows: Hill's jealous.


"Yeah, but I've been pretty damned up front with my strays, 'Tash. Made sure everyone knew they were good, right up to an including the Old Man." Clint's looking to understand, and it's there in the tenor of his voice. "I'm hearing a lot of tiptoeing. I mean, crap. I pulled my pistol on May's strays. I shouldn't have to do that."

Another swig of beer is taken, and Clint holds it by the neck of the bottle rather than the base. Swinging it around, he shakes his head before ducking it. "That's it, but.. why now? It could have been any time. But now. Stuff is going on, and I'd kinda like to know what's up too." Now, he lifts his gaze again, and cants his head. "Not that I'll tell her. I'm pretty much on her list too. In fact, I think I'm being watched." Beat. "Nope, I know it."


"Probably," Natasha replies, bending a leg and tucking a heel up onto the seat beside her, an arm looping around the raised knee. "Look, I haven't met most of May's strays. I've been out in the field too much. The Old Man's got me working on an eyes-only project. I think that's what's stuck in Hill's craw. She's not in on it."

She gives her erstwhile partner another wry smile. "It's the Initiative, Clint. The Avengers Initiative. The Old Man's convinced that building biggger, badder weapons is only going to lead to an escalation of threat that won't be nearly as preventative as the Security Council thinks it will. And in a world with metas that can singly match the best and most powerful of any of the weapons in our arsenal… he figures a team may achieve what technology cannot." A beat. "I'm inclined to agree."

Another beat. A still wry and humourless smile. "You're on my list, actually, Clint. But, between one thing and another, I haven't been able to talk to you about it, until now."


Clint swings the bottle around in little circles before he lifts it again, and his brows rise at some of the news. "I know you've been pretty busy. Hell… I think the most I've seen you in some time was when we were freezing our asses off." He half smiles at the memory, "Between you and me, we had that mission." False bravado or reality, hard to tell… but nothing beats the 'we got this' tone.

Sitting back in his seat, the bottle is pulled to rest upon his thigh. He doesn't bring it up for another swallow for the fact the Russian superspy has his full attention for the moment. "The Initiative…?" He considers as he asks questions, using her as a sounding board, "So.. the Council isn't going to know about all this getting set up until Fury springs it on them." Statement.

"I'm on the list," Clint repeats now. "He leave it up to you to find everyone?"


Natasha simply nods. It's a small gesture, but all encompassing, nonetheless, since it more or less sums up her response to pretty much everything he says on all topics. She adds a bit of knowing smile to it. Clint's not nearly as dense as he likes to appear. They both know it.

"He left it up to me. You, you're easy to find." She winks at that, and then sobers. "The more people that know, the more that are working on it, the more likely it is news will get out before he wants. May suspects, I know. I'm hoping she'll be discrete." But, she's not fool enough enough actually trust May's discretion implicitly. She'll keep her eyes and ears open. "Hill suspects, too, I'm sure. And I'm pretty sure it pisses her off I know more about it than she does. She'd love to lord it over a team like this… But that's not the point of the Initiative. We need to be largely autonomous, or it doesn't work. Too far under the Council's thumb, too far under SHIELD's thumb, and we can't do what needs to be done." There's a way she says it that doubtlessly tells the other agent that 'what needs to be done' isn't necessarily the squeaky clean, shine-a-light-on-it sort of thing. That said, if the Captain's involved, how dark can it go?


Clint's reaction to most everything is lethal force. To wound isn't his first reaction, and his weapons aren't megaphones. Domino had it right back in the Arctic; he's a sniper, happiest in a nest, waiting for that shot, and it's something that 'Tash has seen over and over. There isn't a hesitation, which has helped to keep both of them alive at different times.

A smile creeps across his face as he leans forward again to put his mostly finished bottle on a crowded coffee table. "If I'm not here, just check the records. I'm usually on assignment on Friday and Saturday night," Clint bemoans with a hint of humour. "Hell, I'd consider it 'date night' if you got stuck out there with me." Holed up on the roof of some building, stuck in a car watching a door… lots of fun.

The archer gets it though. All of it… spoken and un-. He's not as thick as some would believe. After all, he -watches-, taking it all in. "It'll be nice to not have to write reports. After awhile, they seem kind of boring and I really want to liven them up for someone."


Natasha chuckles that. "I'm sure that'd entertain Hill." Who would then, doubtlessly, slam him with even more unpleasant tasks, not to mention a permanent watchdog. She shakes her head. "If I thought it'd make a difference, I'd hit that woman. But, I think all I'd do is break my hand against her granite skull."


Hill has actually given him a watchdog in the form of May. And, unbeknownst to Hawk, May agreed to the assignment, as opposed to him that had told the DepDir 'no' flat out. She just apparently isn't a -good- one.

"It wouldn't make a difference. I figure that anything I can do to tick her off, the punishment is more than worth it." Landing on a carrier equaled a few days out in Kurdish territory in Turkey as an 'advisor'. "I actually enjoy thinking of new and unusual things." Though, it doesn't invade his dreams.

Clint leans back on the couch again, and digs into one of the cusions, finding and pulling out his television remote only to wave it in the air in gesture. "Plans tonight?" It's a Wednesday night and he doesn't have an assignment!


Natasha chuckles again, unsurprised by his sentiments. Hell, she shares them, in many ways. "Nothing to speak of," she says in answer to his question. "Oh… Hey. You read any of the reports on Jericho Trent? I got a great one for you…"


Clint moves over on his couch, pushing pillows around to give her some room in case she wants to join him. Little easier to see the TV, but not by much. "Jericho Trent. Saw one. That was the hacker that sprouted wings out in Turkey…" if he remembers correctly.

The remote is wielded now, and he pushes the soft rubber button that is the power button and… nothing happens. Clint pushes it a little more, trying to work out which side to press such that it'll make contact, and still… nothing happens. Swearing softly, he's caught with having to replace batteries or get up and poke the TV himself.

"Probably won't need it to help me fall asleep, but hand it over. I'll take a look at it during commercials. As long as you don't mind popcorn grease on it." Or, he'll read it over morning coffee. Either way, it'll be read and virtually memorized.

"Now.. have you been following Game of Thrones?"


Natasha laughs again. "I haven't," she says. Like she has time to watch TV? Seriously.

She shakes her head. "Nono. Not a report. Just an incident. May and I were working on something, yesterday, when our call was interrupted by the most creative tirade against Hill I've ever heard in my life. Second only, I think, to that one we went on in Budapest."

So much happened in Budapest in such a short time.

"Trent accidentally hooked one of his lines into May's feed. We heard the whole thing." A beat. "And the fact he's hacking civilian weather sats, but that's been dealt with." Of course, it has. She flashes a grin. "I do wish I'd recorded it, though. Selling copies at the agency would net me more profits than a black market weapons deal."


See now, that part of Budapest he remembers distinctly! A lopsided grin rises to his face, giving the tired Hawkeye a boyish look. "I can't imagine anyone getting anywhere near as creative. I gotta give him credit for coming in second."

Trent did .. what? "Accidentally hooked into May's line? Not the encrypted one…" Hawk does believe in security, after all. It helps in keeping him alive.

Clint can't help but echo the grin; he doesn't see that relaxed grin often from his friend, and he misses it when he sees it. "Man.. wish it was on the secured line. That way, we'd have…" Oh hey… "Unsecured line?" NSA. They -might- have a copy… "I think I know what to get you for your birthday this year."


Natasha shakes her head. "Not the encrypted one." Though, Trent does have the skill to do so, she knows. She chuckles, though. It's possible the NSA might have something. Who knows?

She glances to her friend. "We went and shut him down." A smile. "Right before I strong armed him into the Initiative." Apparently, he was on the Old Man's list.


"Tell me you trust him to watch my six, 'Tash." It's a dead serious question, and it's one he needs to know the answer to. Hawk doesn't trust well, or often. It's a gut feeling with him; sometimes it's earned sometimes, well… it's just there. "Because if he's on the Team?"

Clint chuckles and nods, gesturing towards the couch again. "I'll see what I can't find." Now, he lifts himself off the cushion to poke the TV on. And a couple more buttons to locate HBO. The chuckle gives way to a smirk and backing up the few steps, he sits back down and more.. sprawls on his side. "Never did forget when your birthday is."


Not a fair question. The number of people Natasha trusts to cover her six can be counted on less than one hand. Barton is among them. Most everyone else, it's a situational call. Thus, Natasha snirks and gives Clint a reproving look. He should know better than to ask her that.

"I trust him to do what he does best," she says, ultimately, "which is basically covering his own ass and keeping anyone he cares about out of danger by any means necessary. Will he watch my six now? Grudgingly, and only because his rapport with May means he's willing to trust her assessment of me — and only for so long as he doesn't consider me a threat to anything he considers important."

She shrugs, apparently not quite as concerned about it as Clint. (Probably because she really does trust so few people that that uncertainly is something she's used to living with; she's lived with it for more than twice his lifetime, after all.) "Clint, the Old Man's list isn't about good guys. You ought to know that by now. It's about people who can get the job done. Trent can get the job done and be kept in line with the right motivation." How long, really, will it be before Natasha has him wrapped? After all, it is her specialty.


The reproving look is all the answer he needs. Clint stretches out to put his feet on the coffee table, propping his head and arm with a pillow. Jet lag is a bitch. The smirk remains and he nods his head. "Okay then." She's told him everything he needs to know by what she's said and not.

The comment about the Initiative not being about 'the good guys', however. That causes him to sit up a little, a hint of surprise evident on his face. "Okay, that's different." Still, it doesn't make his answer any different. It's just good to know where things lie, as it were.

"Makes me wonder, though, what May's told him about me. I swear, 'Tash… when it starts, I'll be sleeping with one eye open." Sounds about right. But, it is true. How long will it take before the Widow has the hacker under her sway?

"And if you don't come over here, I'm going to just stretch out, because I'm really tired." When Hawk gets tired, he get cranky.


Again, Natasha laughs. "You're learning," she smiles, as if she were so much older than him — for all that she looks like she's a good handful of years younger. She pushes to her feet, now. "I'll leave you, if you're tired. You get cranky when you're tired, and I know how much you like your beauty sleep." She flashes him a teasing grin as she says it, but there's no mistaking that she intends to take her leave, now. A beat. She sobers, if somewhat fondly. "I'll catch you later, Barton. Try not to get your ass shipped to Siberia, okay? I've had enough snow for this summer."


Clint grabs hold of a pillow and wings it at the woman who is, inarguably, his best friend at her comment about his 'beauty sleep'. Though, when she says she's taking her leave, he, too, sobers, though it's more than obvious that he, too, is rather fond of her. "Hey… you will. And if I get sent to Siberia, you'll be the first to know. But, no worries. I'll come back with more curse words." Rolling about, he looks to the door, "Make sure you lock it on your way out. And I'll see you later."

Now, Clint wraps his arms across his chest as he stretches out, feet still on the coffee table, and TV set generating more white noise than programming. "Oh.. and 'Tash?" He doesn't have to look at her now, "You're okay."

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