Prompt: features a pairing breaking up.
And I thought about it while I ate breakfast, and I realized that I don't like break-up fics, but I also realized that in a certain way, it fit with an idea I had for one of the prompts left in my prompting post... and that I could still fill the prompt without having to break up a couple that I didn't want to break up.
This also works out, because I'm going to be really busy on June 15th (today, even though I still need to sleep). So, I decided that I would use my powers as god of this month of ficlets to veto the dice roll on Sunday, and instead combine today's prompt with franztastisch's prompt from the prompting post and write an extra long "ficlet" that would serve as both Saturday AND Sunday's ficlets. So...
Prompt #2: Nate/Avengers crossover [specifically Nate/MCU featuring Clint/Natasha]
For those that don't know, Nate is an OC of mine from the Demented'verse. He is one of Teddy's friends from Hogwarts. And again, just in case anyone is worried - this isn't a break-up fic, though it does feature a pairing breaking up.
Meet me in SoHo
In terms of disguises, it was one of Natasha’s favourites – comfortable shoes, loose clothes, no make-up. The only downside was the dyed hair – just the wrong shade of strawberry-blond.
She smiled at a few women as she made her way through the club, but she wasn’t here to pick up. The place was mostly men, anyway, it seemed. They wore skinny jeans and t-shirts, mostly all of them had good bodies, styled hair – looking to hook up, or looking to impress the dates they had brought with them.
Natasha sat at the bar, turning so that she faced out towards the room. She ordered a drink and watched the dancers, let her eyes room around the place – she glanced at her phone periodically and looked towards the door, as though she were waiting for someone.
Men were dancing, drinking – she could see a few couples making out in dark corners. One couple was up against a wall – a small twink of a guy, couldn’t be more than twenty, but probably younger, pushed up against the wall, arms and legs wrapped around his older boyfriend’s torso. The older boyfriend had back muscles like a rower, hands under the kid’s thighs, holding him off the ground. His face was buried in the kid's neck as the guy nibbled at an ear, maybe sucked a mark into his pale skin. The kid’s eyes were half-lidded, as though he wasn’t even really seeing the club full of people that were privy to such an intimate moment. Not that anyone cared, they were hardly the only couple crossing a few public indecency lines. They weren’t even the only couple with an age-difference.
But the older boyfriend had back muscles like a rower, and if the kid wasn’t paying attention to the room, he gaze wouldn’t have lingered on Natasha just before he whispered sweet-nothings into his boyfriend’s ear.
Natasha turned away and wrote a text message to herself, asking where she was. She didn’t look back at the gay couple by the wall after that, instead she watched two ladies dance to Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode.
By the time the song was over, and the ladies were making their way back to the martinis they had left with their friends, the twink was leaning over the bar next to Natasha, trying to get the bartender’s attention. The kid had a hickey sucked into his neck and his hair was a mess. He was cute though, black hair, blue eyes, slim and fit, and young, very young.
She waited until he ordered two shots of tequila.
“You know,” Natasha said, getting his attention. “Public displays of affection make people uncomfortable.”
The kid paused. “Sorry,” he said, but his smirk told her that he wasn’t sorry at all. “I guess we should take it back to my place.”
“How old are you, kid?” Natasha asked.
The kid sighed, smirk falling into an annoyed glare. He pulled an ID out of his pocket and flashed it at her for a solid three seconds before he shoved it back into his too tight pants. He then picked up his shots from the bar.
“Old enough to make my own decisions, lady,” Nathan Lewin, age 18, said. And then he disappeared into the crowd. Natasha didn’t look over to where his partner had been. She knew he would already be gone.
Clint hadn’t been due to hear from SHIELD that day, so he knew something was wrong even before he decided to answer the call.
“Who is this?”
“My name is Nate,” a quiet voice said. “I don’t know if you remember me, but that’s not important. SHEILD has been compromised. You need to leave wherever you are immediately. Trust no one... except me, telling you this, right now, because it’s true – but after this, trust no one.”
Clint’s thoughts all ground to a halt and then started up again. There was a team on stand-by the next block over. If they were already on their way, Clint had to move now- he switched the call to the blue-tooth and put it in the ear that didn’t already have a SHEILD comm in it.
“How?” Clint asked, quickly packing up his things and leaving no trace behind.
“Agent Romanoff exposed it about twenty minutes ago,” Nate said. “She put all these documents up on the internet – and there’s some kind of large scale fight going on in DC – uh, actually, it started before that, because they said Captain America went rogue. They didn’t tell you that, that was yesterday.”
“What?” Clint asked. He eyed the window, but it was too visible an escape. He went out into the hallway. They’d expect him to go up, so he’d go down, and if people were coming for him, he’d meet them on the way and still have the high ground.
“It’s Hydra,” Nate said. “The whole office...”
And Clint could place him now. The smiling teenager across the room, when they’d handed Clint a new coat and Clint had put it on and said, “I like it.”
“...they all started shooting each other, but I couldn’t tell who was who – I mean, I don’t know whose SHIELD and who’s Hydra, and I don’t know which one the team with you is either, but I know you’re friends with Ms. Romanoff and Captain America, and so I knew you weren’t Hydra, so I thought that if I’m not Hydra and you’re not Hydra, then I should make sure that you know that everyone else might be Hydra. So, you need to go-“
“I’m going,” Clint huffed out in a breath as he reached the bottom of the stairs. He nocked an arrow before opening the door into the alley, stepping out with the bow already drawn.
“Good,” Nate said, and he sounded genuinely relieved. “Okay, um, I’m sorry about – uh, everything – I mean, about SHIELD. Uh, good luck, I guess?”
There was no one in the alley. Clint quickly hid behind a dumpster, and began to disassemble his bow and stuff his quiver into his duffle bag.
“Wait,” Clint said, afraid the kid was about to hang up. “How’d you get this number.”
“People were distracted,” Nate said. “I may have done some things.”
Clint put on an oversized gray hooded sweatshirt, luckily it was drizzling and he had good enough reason to pull the hood up over his head, blocking the sight of the ear piece for his phone. He took out his official SHIELD comm and threw it in the trash. He wasn’t sure if those things could be tracked.
“What things?” Clint asked.
“Non-lethal things and no one saw me,” Nate replied. “They were going to give the order to ‘secure’ you, and I didn’t know what that meant, and I didn’t know whether they were the good guys or the bad guys, so I uh... I put them all to sleep with umm... well, this really cool sleep-grenade type thing, I don’t know what they’re called... then I stole your number off Agent Jones’ phone, and then I found a secure location to call you from, because they’re probably going to wake up soon...“
While Nate talked, Clint used tape to make his military-style duffle look like a sports bag. There were squash courts two blocks away. It was as good a disguise as he was going to get.
“... so, I think you should probably hide, maybe get in touch with your friends? Stay safe,” Nate finished.
There was just enough foot traffic to slip out of the alley at a time when he could blend into the crowd just enough. He had maybe taken five steps before he heard at least a half-dozen people run up to the building behind him – he didn’t change his pace.
He realized that it had been about ten seconds of silence coming from Nate’s end of the line, but the call was still connected. He could hear the kid breathing. Then he realized something wasn’t sitting right about this whole phone call - Nate had been whispering the entire time.
“Nate,” Clint said. “Where are you?”
“Oh, uh... somewhere safe,” Nate said. “Don’t, um, don’t worry. I’ve got this all figured out.”
“You’re not a very good liar, kid.”
There was an aggrieved sigh over the line.
“This is so embarrassing...” Nate muttered. “It always works in the movies.”
“Tell me where you are.”
“I’m stuck in a ventilation shaft.”
Clint smiled. It actually felt good to focus on a problem that he could solve, rather than worrying about SHIELD, Natasha, or whatever the hell was happening in DC.
“I’ll come get’cha.”
The apartment building was obviously one of those places that used to be a factory, but had since been converted into stylish “urban” lofts, complete with exposed brick and heating ducts. Nathan Lewin, age 18, lived on the fifth floor, according to his ID. Natasha got in by fumbling through her purse at the door, just as another woman was leaving. The woman held the door open for her and smiled in sympathy.
When Natasha knocked it was Nathan that opened the door. He smiled at her and stepped back without a word, letting her into the apartment.
Clint was standing at the end of the bed, now wearing more comfortable looking black jeans and a loose purple t-shirt. He breathed out a long breath at the sight of her and then opened his arms, because Natasha was already running towards him. Somewhere behind her she heard the apartment door shut.
“Jesus, Nat,” Clint muttered into her hair, clinging to her just as tightly as she clung to him. “I heard about Fury, I...”
Natasha pulled back and glanced over her shoulder. Nathan was still in the room, back against the door and looking off to the side in an attempt to give them privacy.
“It’s okay,” Clint said. “He’s safe.”
“Not if he knows too much,” Natasha countered.
“It’s been long enough, if they were coming for him they would have by now,” Clint said. “He’s safe. He knows how to keep secrets.”
Natasha nodded, it was true – Clint had let her know how to find him only two days after DC, but Natasha couldn’t leave town while Steve was still in the hospital, and then couldn’t leave Steve to deal with the official inquiries either.
“He’s alive,” Natasha said.
Clint breathed a sigh of relief.
“Kid,” Clint called, ushering Nathan over with a smile. “Nate, Nat. Nat, Nate.”
Natasha raised an eyebrow and tried her best not to look amused.
“He’s been waiting to do that for a while,” Nate rolled his eyes. “It’s a pleasure to meat you, Ms. Romanoff.”
“Natasha,” she corrected, as she shook his offered hand. “You’re a bit young for a SHIELD agent, Nate.”
“Uh, I’m not an agent. I had an internship in the design department,” Nate blushed.
“You should see the coat that he designed for me,” Clint added in.
Natasha watched with amusement as Nate blushed even more.
“You got the jump on a compromised SHIELD office with the help of an intern in the design department,” Natasha said, because Clint’s message to her had been very specific.
“You know how it is,” Nate said, still blushing, but smiling a little smugly. “Everyone underestimates the small gay intern.”
“Oh, I like you,” Natasha smiled.
“I told you,” Clint said to Nate, who grinned in reply. Clint smiled and turned back to the bed, where he had an open duffle bag, mostly packed. “Am I packing for a commercial flight or a private one?”
“Private, but it leaves with or without us, so we have to get moving,” Natasha answered.
Clint nodded, shoving the last of his belongings inside and zipping up the duffle.
“Well,” Nate said, shifting on his feet. “Thanks for... everything.”
“You going to be okay, kid?” Natasha asked.
“Yeah,” Nate said, smiling a little sadly. “I mean, my pretend boyfriend is leaving me – so that sucks. But, he’s dumping me for Black Widow, so, it’s understandable and pretty amazing, really.”
“Your pretend boyfriend is twice your age and you can do better,” Clint added.
“But he was such a gentleman,” Nate placed a hand to his heart and sighed mournfully, a teasing glint to his eye.
“Do you want to come with us?” Natasha offered. Nate’s jaw dropped. Clint just smiled.
“Uh, I-I’d love to, but...” Nate stuttered.
“I already offered,” Clint explained. “Nate’s got a life here.”
“Well, the offer stands,” Natasha said.
“Thank you,” Nate replied.
“You probably should move apartments,” Natasha continued. “They may eventually figure out that Clint and their intern disappeared at the exact same time.”
“Don’t worry,” Nate said. “I don’t really live here. I just rented it for the address.”
Natasha paused, looking around at the apartment – realizing that what she had taken for minimalist living was actually just the result of using the place as a cover while Clint waited for her.
“You got a fake permanent address for an internship?” Natasha asked.
“Yeah, I live with a friend in another part of town,” Nate shrugged. “I’d tell you where, but it’s a secret.”
“I told you he was good at secrets,” Clint said.
Nate just smiled.
“Stay safe, kid.” Clint gave Nate a hug.
“You too,” Nate said, a little sadly.
“Hey,” Clint patted him on the shoulder. “We’ll always have the ventilation shaft.”
Natasha watched amused, as Nate laughed and then held up a stern finger.
“Don’t you dare tell anyone about the ventilation shaft,” Nate ordered. Clint laughed.
“Nice meeting you,” Natasha said, after Clint shouldered his bag and started walking towards the door.
“If you ever need anything, you know how to get in touch,” Clint said, as he opened the door, letting Natasha leave first.
“Likewise,” Nate repeated with a smile, still standing in the middle of the room.
Clint nodded and closed the door and he and Natasha made their way down the hall.
“Maybe we should have offered him a ride,” Natasha said. “If not to his actual apartment, then at least to whatever part of town it’s in.”
“You could go back and ask,” Clint said, “but I’ll bet you five dollars he’s already gone.”
Natasha glanced back down the hall at the closed door. She didn’t need to go back and check in order to know that she would lose that bet.
He was good at keeping secrets.
PS: archery uses the same muscles as rowing.