lifesmarvels: (tony stark arm)
[personal profile] lifesmarvels
Title: Cantedeskia
Fandom: Avengers
Pairing: Coulson/Clint
Genre: ??
Rating: PG
Warnings: Natasha
Word Count: ~2000
Summary: Natasha helps her brother.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's note: A little thing for my Avengers BB Universe. It's not an epilogue yet, but I wanted to write something about Natasha and Clint, because well, they were my favourites after Tony and I neglected them a little. Beta-read by amazing [livejournal.com profile] the_me09




Natasha Romanov-Barton was not a lady. It was hard to persuade others of that, especially since society expected her to act like one. She played along, but she didn’t have to like it. Her brother (well, technically half-brother, curse her womanizing father, but at least this thing came out good for her) was much better at this polite charade. All bows, and curtsies, and dances with ladies at balls. Clint was charming and no one suspected him of being, well, a little crazy. They both were, although he was better at masking it. She was lucky if she got away with being labeled “stoic”.

Friendship with Anthony Stark was a godsend at that. No one who was in his circle of friends could be very bad, so she automatically got a pass at being as silent as she wanted. It suited her. She didn’t like the idle chatter other women busied themselves with at social gatherings, and although she was a good dancer, she didn’t particularly care for the company of the gentlemen that usually asked for her hand. They were usually the sort  that thought they might succeed in taming her, like in that Shakespearean play. They were disgusting.

She wasn’t something to be tamed. Clint used to say she was like a fire, wild and uncontrolled, letting others warm by her side only when she felt like it. She liked that comparison very much.

She and Clint were close, maybe closer than any other pair of siblings. It might be because for a very long time they had only each other. Not counting the swarm of house staff, that was bent on ignoring them as much as they could. It agreed with them, since they had a lot of free and unchecked time, which went into training what they childishly called “ninja skills”. They’re older now, and didn’t use the moniker anymore, but sometimes when the fire was crackling in the fireplace and they laid curled on a settee to preserve warmth, joking and talking in hushed voices, they talked about it and laughed happily. They didn’t have many occasions to laugh, or maybe she should fairly say that she didn’t have. Clint was more open, but it didn’t matter, as long as he kept going back home to her.

~*~

There was one time she lost her temper. That she stopped being the stoic observer and became something more aggressive, using the knowledge she gathered by silently looking. Cain Marco never again touched Charles and she was satisfied. She didn’t regret her actions. No one had any rights to harm her family. It was too fragile and crystal-like to risk anything happening to it. She would lay down her life for these people. It was good she didn’t have to resort to that to protect them.

~*~

Three years after Anthony married Steve, Clint met Phil Coulson. She really wished she could hate this man. His presence threw their routine into the loop, making Clint sigh like a love-sick fool he was. She wished she could imagine killing the man without feeling like the worst sister, guilt clawing at her insides until she went into morning room and curled into Clint’s knees, ignoring his baffled look and reveling in the gentle fingers running through her fiery hair. She didn’t understand what jealousy and self-hate mean until then.

Phil was… Peculiar. He was a retired soldier, forced to return home by a bullet in his knee, because of which he limped slightly now and used a highly ornamented cane. She was sure it was a gift from someone, he wasn’t a man to enjoy something so flashy. He hated being idle, always overseeing the work on his estate when his injury or weather hadn’t let him go out in the field himself. His books were always neatly kept and all his workers respected him great deal. He was well liked in the company of noblemen and women that lived in their –shire. She couldn’t bring herself to try and find anything more about him. Somehow, any harder breech of his privacy felt like a betrayal of Clint. She didn’t understand that feeling, but she didn’t like it.

The point remained, that Phil Coulson was taking her Clint away from her. And if she wanted her brother to be happy, she couldn’t do anything about it.

It seemed though, she didn’t have to. Coulson hadn’t showed any signs of interest towards anyone and she could do nothing but watch as her brother went back from the parties more and more subdued, leaving the mask of jubilant joker and exposing to her eyes the vulnerable man that sought  acceptance all his life. Sometimes, she forgot how lonely he could get, with only her as company. She was content with that state of things, but he was a more extraverted person, needing love of more than one person. Meetings at Anthony’s mansion usually resulted in him being happier for months at time, but Anthony was gone now, travelling Europe as a gift for his young husband.

It fell to her to make her Clint feel better.

It wasn’t easy at first. She didn’t make a habit of being active at any social gatherings and the crowd got used to it. When she first approached the circle of giggling women, they looked at her as if she sprouted a second head. But she gritted her teeth and put a mask of a proper lady; like she did when she was younger and didn’t have people who accepted her as she was, bored with the world and dangerous to people in it at turns. She became quite a sensation and although she didn’t accomplish much that first evening, it amused Clint enough that she tried to blend in with these people that she was satisfied enough. For now.

It repeated again and again, until no one batted an eye at her presence between the dames. She even let herself be led to the dance floor few times, in hope that would further push her goal. She gathered enough intelligence to finally make a decisive move, ignoring the habits and asking Coulson to dance herself. God knows how long she would wait if she let the decision to him. The goal was to make him notice Clint, and for that, she had to expose herself, invite him into the circle of their acquaintances. That was done by stupid things like chatting and dancing, but eventually she would be able to invite him over for tea. She might need to buy tea for that occasion.

Clint didn’t speak to her that evening, but that was okay, he didn’t understand yet. She loved him. She would sacrifice her already wobbly reputation for his happiness, and she could take few nights of silence. It didn’t mean she would like it, but if it meant the end result would end with him finally being happy, she could accept the road to that. He was too important to not.

The plan started bearing fruit soon enough, Coulson seeking her out himself for conversation and dancing. He wasn’t interested in her, but there weren’t many people interested enough in anything other than petty on-goings of –shire to talk to. That was what grabbed Clint’s attention, she realized eventually, and she had to congratulate her brother on his good taste. At least he wouldn’t get bored with that one.

The thing came to the head one time when she and Clint were on their usual trip to the city.  He stopped ignoring her, but she could tell he still wasn’t happy. They went on horseback, taking any shopping out of the question, their stallions unused to carrying anything more than them. They stopped for lunch at the little place near downtown, one that wasn’t frequented by the kind of people they need to suffer at stuffy parties. And that’s where they bumped into Coulson.

She wasn’t actually sure if she should approach him right away, but the tension between her and Clint grew with every day and she was tired of pretending to be nicer than she actually was. She could have had it over by the end of the night if she was lucky. So she went over to Coulson and feigned surprise at seeing him there, even if it took her three weeks to find out at what times he visited the little shop. The man agreed to go with them to the manor for tea, although she noticed a glint of suspicion in his eyes. She must remember to be on her guard that evening.

It was more pleasant than she anticipated and by the time clock struck nine in the evening the men were so engrossed in conversation about hunting gear that she slipped out of the room unnoticed by either of them. She was just hoping this would finally lead to something more solid than longing sighs from her brother’s side and complete ignorance from Coulson’s. She was getting tired of that game. She loved Clint, but there was only so much she was ready to do for his happiness if he kept being such a weakling. She couldn’t do everything for him. She got ready for bed, refreshing herself in a basin and pulling her hair into a braid so it wouldn’t get tangled during the night. Her nightclothes were something she preferred from stuffy day dresses, loose and comfortable to move in. Clint used to say she looked like she was mourning someone all the time with her black silks, but she liked the dark colours. It made her feel like she could be a part of the night, unnoticed and silent.

She crept on soundless feet back towards the living room, keeping care to avoid creaky floorboards and spots of lights that would lighten on her hair and maybe make the men inside aware of her approach. She didn’t want to get involved anymore, but she wanted to know if her plan worked at least a little. She knew Clint. She knew how smart he was, how funny and witty when he only got a chance. The only thing she had to give him for him to capture Coulson’s heart, was opportunity. She did, and now it was all on him. But she still would be damned if he wasted it away. One glance into the room showed that her worried were unneeded if not unfounded. Clint was leaning into the older man’s space much more than appropriate and the old soldier didn’t seem to mind at all, keeping his hand casually at her brother’s knee. They were talking in hushed voices, of what she could not hear, but she decided it didn’t matter all that much when they looked so obviously happily taken with each other. She retreated back to her room with satisfied smile and dreamt of red flowers in the snow.

~*~

The wedding when it finally came was a small, quiet affair consisting of only their closest friends. There was snow twirling in the air outside and she had a dark purple dress on  to make her Clint happy. He looked radiant with a sunny smile on his face that she was sure could melt the cool snowflakes if given the chance. Coulson was standing in his uniform, a little stiffly, leaning heavily on his cane. She noticed the wound bothered him much more even since the first frost arrived in their garden and covered the ground with sparkling crystals. Bruce said that it would probably always bother him during lower temperatures now. She didn’t worry, she knew that the first thing Clint would do after getting his new husband alone would be to warm up a towel and roll it around the older man’s knee. Then he would probably kiss it and some other things, but that was part of their relationship she preferred not to think about.

She was happy, she realized. Much more than ever, looking at her brother tying his life to another one’s and knowing that it was mostly her doing that they even got together. She gripped the bright red bouquet tighter to her chest and closed her fingers more firmly around Bruce’s hand. And she smiled.




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