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Super Secret Santa for Bongo (Avengers - Clint)


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Happy holidays, Bongo, and happy 2015! I really hope you like this, it was the only fandom on your list I knew besides X-Men. You had quite a few listed so I hope Avengers is okay! If you'd be happier with another fandom please let me know which is your favorite, and I'd be more than happy to Wikipedia and YouTube until I have enough of a grasp to write something. But I figured for now I would go with what I know, and hope that it's worthy of Secret Santa-level giftdom!

So this is like the third Clint/Natasha fic to come out of Secret Santa, which I am totally digging, but this also felt incredibly indulgent because they happen to be my favorite OTP at the moment. Clint is the victim of a cold. I like to think he suffers through at least one day out of every cold with nonstop sneezing that drives Natasha absolutely bonkers. It turned into plotless holiday drivel, or anytime drivel, really, since I don't mention anything about the holidays until the very end. And a big ol' thank you to Winged for reading it before I posted and offering suggestions! I worked on it bit by bit, sometimes under the heavy influence of Christmas spirit(s), wink.png to avoid putting it off to the last minute, so I apologize for any inconsistencies or errors you may find. If anyone catches any, please feel free to point them out so I can fix them.

Okay, I'll shut up now. Merry [insert holiday or celebration of choice here], Bongo! biggrin.png


Hauling three hefty bags of weapons up the stairs made the achievement of reaching the fifth floor all the sweeter. It would have been light work on a normal day, but Natasha hadn't eaten so much as a Saltine in the past twenty-four hours and the "doctor" said there would still be bits of shrapnel in her leg until she could get to a real doctor. Or died, whichever came first.

Fortunately she wasn’t dead, and it was almost dinner time, not that she or Clint followed anything resembling a typical schedule. Natasha hoped today was a fluke and there was a five course meal waiting for her on the other side of the door. She tried to hide her disappointment when her partner answered the door empty-handed, glassy-eyed, and apparently mute. Everything about him screamed off. Natasha wondered if he was drunk or high or both until he turned away to shudder into a handkerchief. "-h'mptch! -hptff!"

She raised her eyebrows and smiled, surprised and relieved. “Hello to you, too.”

Clint rarely sneezed when he was healthy, so she deduced this was the handiwork of a cold or possibly hay fever. The handkerchief was new. Maybe he was spending too much time with Steve.

"I'be dot sick," he said almost immediately, like a reflex, and she quirked an eyebrow at his predictable dishonesty.

"Great," she said, slinging a bag over his shoulder. "Then help me put these in your secret vault."

He stumbled a bit when she handed off a bag of contraband, clearly not at his full strength. Natasha was this close to feeling bad for him - and then he went and opened his mouth again.

"The secret vault - your words, not mine - is and always has been in the basement.” She opened her mouth to protest but he cut her off. “Come on, Romanoff. The one in the apartment’s obviously a decoy... I probably shouldn’t have said that so loudly in the hallway. Anyway, sorry you came all the way up here first."

He looked sorry, all right. Natasha wanted to smack the smirk off his face, but she settled for burdening him with another bag. If her leg could cry it would have wept at the small, sweet relief of a little less weight bogging her down. "Downstairs, then,” she said, tone and expression neutral despite the dull, throbbing pain that lingered like a suspicious stranger in a dark parking lot, waiting for her to let her guard down to strike.

"If you had given me a heads up I would have told you." He sounded more sympathetic this time, and she was surprised when he took the third bag, grunting as he shouldered the unexpected weight. "Damn,” he gasped. “How'd you make it up here?"

She raised her eyebrows and folded her arms across her chest. "Who do you think you're talking to?"

Natasha insisted on overseeing the storage. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust her partner - quite the opposite - but the way he had to stop after every flight down to catch his breath was more than a little disconcerting. Before he could comment on her limp she distracted him some (slightly exaggerated) tidbits from her mission. Natasha rarely shared the juicy details with him, as a rule, so he hung on her every word.

Once the contraband was stashed to her satisfaction, the normally self-sufficient femme fatale allowed Clint to help her wobble up the first and last flight to his apartment. By the time they got to his door the adrenaline wore off completely, leaving nothing but overwhelming pain and discomfort. Clint tightened his grip around her waist just as her leg gave out; Natasha eased into his strong, secure hold, too weak to play the stubborn game right now. Supporting his partner with one arm, he reached into his back pocket for his key but then paused, eyes narrowing. Natasha groaned, misinterpreting the cause of his hesitation.

“If you forgot the keys, I swear to God I will-”

She stopped when she saw his face. Natasha could read her partner's expressions and body language better than anyone, a skill that also allowed her to spot the rare sneeze coming from a mile away. This talent unexpectedly came in handy during a certain stealth mission Clint forbade her to speak about to anyone, ever, especially Tony. Nobody told Natasha what to do, of course, but she kept her lips sealed out of respect for her longtime partner.

His chest expanded against her with a sudden, massive breath, and she managed to cover her ears just as he vented it to the side. The uncovered, unstifled "AESSHh’oo!" echoed in the empty hallway.

She frowned, removing a hand from her ear to rest it gently on his shoulder. “Bless-”

“hih’knchhh!-u-HIHshhu!" His body trembled under her palm but he managed to keep one arm securely around her waist. “hnkTCh!

"Bud zdorov,” she said, almost as breathless as him at the display. “Bless you. Now get inside, dumbie. The last thing we need is the kind of attention you tend to attract when you do… that."

She pushed him through the door as he began winding up for another, his body stiff and resistant to her efforts. His muscles locked under her touch as he cringed with another poorly-stifled "nKSHhh-u!"

"One never does it for you, huh, Barton?" Natasha observed playfully.

He pressed his finger against his pink, flaring nostrils to prevent another, not even trying for a comeback. The urge was so consuming he could do little else. It would have been nice if he could help her with her leg, but he was useless right now, so she steered him towards the couch. “Sit.”

Clint had just enough control over his body to perform this basic command while simultaneously staving off what could be just one more in a series of a dozen sneezes or more if he didn't get himself under control. He continued the fit seated and Natasha, distracted again by the flaring pain in her leg, shoved a tissue box towards him like an overwhelmed mother. "I have to take care of this," she said, gesturing vaguely at her lower half, "and when I get back you can tell me all about how not sick you are."

He tried to focus on her through the building sneeze, even as it made his eyelids heavy and tugged at his features in the most unflattering way. She still found his effort valiant, if not utterly adorable. Leaning over him, she planted a quick kiss on his squirming nose and walked away from the resulting explosion. Coupled with the bits of bullet casing lodged in her ankle, it made her feel like badass protagonist in an action movie.

Clint sneezed every twelve seconds like clockwork while Natasha used his bathroom counter as a makeshift operating table. Startling as they were in volume, his cold sneezes had a predictable rhythm once he got going. Natasha synced herself with that rhythm, methodically working bits of shrapnel out of her flesh with forceps sanitized with the flame from her lighter. Eventually the sneezing stopped and she stitched the wound in welcome silence. For the sake of her own fraying nerves and Clint's well-being she hoped there was a lengthy refractory period before the next set.

When she returned to the living room he was asleep on the sofa. She took note of the bottle of cold medicine on the coffee table and gave him a sympathetic smile. Drugs did very little to abate his symptoms, but could put him in a borderline comatose state for hours. It was like drugging a child with Benadryl to get them through a long flight, except the child wakes up halfway through and spends the rest of the flight whiney and miserable. She curled up next to Clint carefully, trying not to wake him. He didn’t stir so she maneuvered him gently into her lap, petting his hair as she felt around with her free hand for the ever elusive remote.

Propping her bandaged ankle on a pillow on the coffee table, Natasha surfed through channel after channel of people yelling about sports and politics before settling on a re-run of Law and Order. Her stomach growled so loudly she was surprised it didn't wake Clint from his drug-induced slumber. She wished she could order pizza straight to this couch but the door was locked and the pizza guy probably wouldn't want to scale the balcony and break in through the window, even with her emphatic verbal permission. Choosing comfort over food, she took a swig of cold medicine to numb the pain in her ankle and settled in for the long haul. Colors and pixels shifted and changed on the screen as she combed Clint's hair into a little mohawk with her fingers, lulled by the garbled acted voices of actors pretending to be cops, rapists, and child molesters. People playing at being the real thing, when most of them had no clue.

One reflexive press of a button brought the clumsy clank of a rudimentary xylophone into their quiet space. Pastel colors and tinkling instruments - a children’s show. Whatever it was, it was better than gunfire at the moment. A hushed voice spoke to the imaginary audience of children and Natasha imagined, just for a minute, that she was someone else, a mother, sitting here with a kid or five. The idea made her shiver; she quickly returned to here, to now, to peace and quiet and Clint in her lap, his fingers wrapped around the remote as he stealthily changed the channel to some nature documentary. “Sneaky bastard,” she said, prying the remote from his fingers and flipping to Food Network.

He opened one eye and smiled up at her drowsily before sleep moved back in to reclaim him. Natasha smiled, utterly content with her life. She knew the pain and sickness would pass - it always did. And she had all the family she needed right here.


Clint woke her up nearly two hours later, his body shaking hard against her with the effort of containing a sneeze that, judging from the force of it, would have otherwise put her into instant cardiac arrest. Natasha was both grateful for and irritated by his courtesy; she knew how badly stifling with impacted sinuses could hurt. Unfortunately it was the only alternative he saw to letting them free, which usually led to more. There was, of course, another solution.

Natasha grabbed his nose between her fingers before he could, the element of surprise effectively deterring the sneeze on deck. He gave a little whimper of longing which she instantly shushed.

"Oh, hush." Natasha could feel his nostrils flexing against her fingertips and pressed harder, only easing up when the focus returned to his eyes. She held his wavering gaze and dared him to lose it again. "You have better self control than this."

He tried to listen but she could tell he didn't hear a thing she said; the distraction was too much. She saw his expression change just slightly, eyes shifting to some nonexistent point in the distance, and knew it past the point of control. Letting go, Natasha leaned away from him and made a show of wiping her hand against the couch, though his attention was entirely elsewhere.

"-ih'PFft! hehh... heh'PFSHh! hih!... hihT'Chh!"

Natasha marveled at his determination. "How is this any better than just letting them out?"

"I dote... heh'ktsh! -get you sick,” he said breathlessly.

At least he admitted he was sick. "It's probably too late for me, lyubov moya," she said, rubbing his back gently as he gave a vigorous blow into the handkerchief, determined to vanquish the cause of his distress. "You've done nothing but sneeze all over the place since I got here."

He resurfaced with an indignant expression. "That’s not true. I helped-- no, I single-handedly carried those bags downstairs for you… and I was going to make you dinner, but I passed out and drooled all over you instead. It’s the thought that counts, right?”

“Right.” Natasha smirked at him, to soften the blow of the revelation that was about to follow. "Kind of how I thought about getting you a latte on the way back, but I was carrying a bag of guns and I kind of got shot in the leg, so..."

"What?" She couldn't tell if he was more troubled by her injury or the lack of coffee. After his initial reaction Clint frowned at her ankle, the little dent in his forehead belying his efforts to appear nonchalant. "Explains the limp. And the bandage. Are you-"

"All taken care of," she said, giving him a kiss on the nose before he could get his concern all over her. "It's sweet of you to worry, but seriously. Stop it.”

The light contact made his nose crinkle; she should have known it would. Natasha straightened up, giving him a look of disapproval. "Again?"

Clint looked uncertain. "Not quite yet, I-... h'hh..." His eyes slid out of focus again and Natasha felt her own almost roll right out of her head. "I'be fightihg it..."

"Well, fight harder. It's kicking your ass."

"If I could just..." He paused again, nostrils fluttering, then recovered with a thick sniffle. "... let out one good one, it bight... stop…."

"See how that works out for you," Natasha challenged. "You won't be able to stop."

That bastard never could resist a challenge. Finally sitting upright, he put some distance between them, turning towards the other end of the couch and clutching the handkerchief uselessly at his side. “-ih’hihyIFSChue!” He sneezed openly towards the floor, and Natasha averted her eyes politely, not quite keen on seeing the aftermath. They were full and desperate, shaking the frame of the couch with their force. “AHSChh!... s’cuu- e’h’AEIHSCHH-oo! Whew… x’cuse be.”

“No excuse for you,” she teased, resigning herself to a long night with her sneezy partner.

He had enough in him this time to snipe back but she was distracted by footsteps outside. She could identify everyone who lived in the building just from the way they walked down the hallway; these were unfamiliar feet. Noticing her attention was elsewhere, Clint fell silent and followed her gaze to the door, one hand absently shoved against his nose to keep it from running. Natasha was beginning to wonder if the handkerchief was just an accessory.

Heavy boots, two pairs. Two individuals, men, probably a couple hundred pounds each. Likely the guys she lifted the guns from. Nothing she couldn’t handle on her own.

Clint started to get up but her partner beat him to it. “Stay,” she said, grabbing one of his guns from the side table drawer just in case.



He fell back against the couch and watched as she made her way soundlessly across the living room. Even with an injured ankle Natasha moved as silently and gracefully as a cat. She backed up against the wall and waited, her ear close to the crack in the door and her unoccupied fingers hovering over the deadbolt. She could hear whispered voices, familiar in their tone and cadence. Fury said they might try to follow her, but she was hoping her head start would have bought her a few days. Natasha didn’t blame them; if someone stole her guns, she would probably hunt them to the ends of the earth, too.

Her finger nearly squeezed the trigger when Clint stifled a sneeze in the living room. It only took her a second to realize what the sound was and when she did she froze, waiting for some kind of reaction from the people in the hallway. When they spoke again their voices were just outside the door. Unable to take the suspense any longer, Natasha slid open the deadbolt, twisted the locks open, and flung the door open, greeting the guests at the door with a fist to the face each. The larger of the two had the misfortune of receiving her gun hand and was out like a light before he knew what hit him. She disarmed the other and slammed him into the wall, instantly knocking him unconscious.

When she turned to make sure the area was clear she caught Clint in the hallway of his unit, his gun trained on an imaginary enemy out the door and down the hall. She cleared her throat and he looked at her, frazzled, before lowering the gun.

“I thought I told you to stay.”

“I may be sick as a dog, Nat, but a dog I am not.”

They both stared at the two men on the floor. The door down the hallway creaked opened and Clint’s neighbor stuck her head out to investigate.

“Hey, Simone,” he said. “Everything’s under control, just a couple of junkies.”

She looked doubtful but retreated back into her apartment without a word. The residents knew better than to question their landlord’s strange activities.

Clint turned back to Natasha. “These the guys?”

“No, I decided to knock them out because I thought they looked funny.”

"Which one shot you?"

All Natasha had to do was look at the larger one and Clint's boot was in his side.

“So now what?” he asked, giving the other one a kick for good measure.

Her instructions were to turn them into SHIELD for processing if they pursued her. “Grab the net gun, and a bow,” she said. “I want to wrap these suckers up nice and pretty for Fury.”

Clint looked at her for a moment, then gave a husky laugh that turned her insides into warm coffee. Even with the two of them sick and injured and a pair of criminals near death on their doorstep, she couldn’t think of a better way to spend the holidays. “Just what he’s always wanted.”

Edited by anonymockingbird
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OMG I think im in love right now this was absolutely beautiful wubsmiley.gif

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I'm definitely loving how much Clint has taken over Secret Santa this week. And yeah, I put a ton of fandoms because the first year I did SS, I didn't know the fandom my recipient requested, so now I give a lot of options.

Clint and Natasha were both perfectly in character. Badass Natasha trying to take care of dopey Clint and pull bullets out of her own leg was great-as was how long it took Clint to notice.

And even on what should finally be their day off-one hurt, one sick, they still have to kick the baddies for SHIELD. Because of course they do. That's how SHIELD works.

Perfect. Thank you! I loved it!

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This was so great omg! I love the chemistry between him and Natasha... oh my gosh, thanks for writing!! :D

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