Five times Clint watched over Natasha and One time he didn't
The first time... He was supposed to kill her, not kidnap her. Clint Barton sat in a hellhole of an apartment in Croatia and stared at the red haired assassin curled up in the dirty bed. She was maybe twenty, a lot younger then he'd been expecting. When they'd finally come face to face, weapons drawn, he just couldn't do it. Just couldn't kill someone little more then a kid. So he'd chosen just the right arrow, one tipped with sedatives instead and aimed for her leg instead of her heart. He just wasn't sure how he was going to explain it to his boss.
He pondered that for a bit while she slept. She did have a specific skill set after all, surely SHIELD could find a use for a double agent. If they could convince her to be a double agent, but Clint was fairly confident she would. If she'd wanted to, he would be dead right now because he was certain she wouldn't have been merciful enough to sedate and kidnap him.
He'd seen something in her bright green eyes that had convinced him she wanted more then being a Red Room trained assassin. That she could be more, given the chance. He was determined to give her that chance, even if the boss was going to take some convincing.
The second time... Fury had called Clint himself to tell him the news. "Romanoff has been shot," he'd announced gravely, straight to the point. "She'll be fine. But I thought you'd want to know." Clint hadn't asked any questions. Instead, he'd stumbled up the stairs to tell Laura. This was supposed to be his secret paternity leave, Lila Edith had made her grand entrance only last week. He'd wondered why Natasha hadn't even called, she'd said she would at least do that if she couldn't make it out in time. Now he knew why.
Bleary eyed after taking a late last minute flight to New York, Clint was almost too tired to hit the right elevator button. Newborns and late flights equaled no sleep but Laura had basically kicked him to New York, telling him Natasha needed him more then she did. He always did what Laura said. It was easier that way.
He slowly walked down the familiar hall of the hospital ward, it wasn't the first time he'd gone to visit an injured friend. It was the first time it'd been his partner. He was sure if he'd been with her like usual, it would've have not happened.
He slipped into her room, the lights were off and she was sleeping, the machines beeping softly as they monitored her heart rate and blood pressure. He sank into the chair by her bed. "You're a pain in my ass, Nat." he told her, before reclining the chair and dozing off himself. He'd keep watch with his eyes closed.
The third time... Clint couldn't find Cooper. He'd gotten up in the middle of the night to check on everything as he often did and the toddler was missing from his bed. Clint was only sure of one thing, that Cooper was still somewhere in the house. There was no way a four year old was going to sneak past Hawkeye, Black Widow and his mother plus a top of the line security system from SHIELD. Clint felt certain of that.
Silently, he padded through the house and looked for his son. No Cooper in the kitchen, living room, playroom or office. Clint had rather thought he'd find the child in the kitchen sneaking a juice pop. He continued the search upstairs. Cooper was not in bed with his mother or sister. He was not hiding in the tub as he'd done before.
He noticed a light was still on in the room down the hall. Figuring Natasha was still awake and could help him find the kid before Laura noticed, he knocked lightly on the door. No answer, with a bit of hesitation he pushed it open. He was a bit surprised to find his son and Natasha curled up together sound asleep, with a pile of books and stuffed animals surrounding them.
Clint shook his head and wished for a camera. As much as she might deny it, there was no doubt about it, Natasha really loved being Auntie Nat. He reached to turn off the light and leave them to sleep.
The fourth time... Clint was worried. It was very unlike Natasha to not come to meetings. It was extremely unlike her to take a sick day. He couldn't remember her ever being sick, even when she'd been seriously hurt, she'd brushed it off and gone to work. He worried through the entire two hour meeting, at the end, he wasn't even sure what exactly it'd been about. Fury had talked and handed out files for two hours, that's all he knew.
He hurried up the stairs of her apartment building, cursing the fact she lived in a walk up. She did, at least, occupy the apartment closest to the stairs. Knocking rapidly on the door, he waited impatiently for her to check everything out. He well knew she had an impressive security system.
The door swung open. "I hate your kids." she told him. "I'm going back to bed. Eat, drink, whatever. Lock the door when you leave." she turned and left him standing at the door.
Clint blinked, took a minute to get it. Oh. The kids had had the flu over the weekend, which of course was the weekend Natasha had visited. "They gave you the flu, huh?" He followed her into the dimly lit apartment, making sure to lock the door. "That's all this is? I was worried about you!"
The fifth time... Clint had sat with Wanda til she fell asleep, he was feeling way too much guilt over that situation and had nothing to fix it and started searching for Natasha, although he also couldn't fix that situation. Heck, he hadn't even known she and Banner had had a thing until Laura pointed it out. Losing Banner was going to be a blow to all of them and he expected Nat would deal with it in her usual way, which was to throw herself into work and not say anything to anyone, but he figured she wouldn't mind a friend right about now.
He'd forgotten just how big the helicarrier was as he began his search. He had a pretty good idea where she'd end up though, it was the one spot that really only the two of them had ever used. Grabbing a few supplies from the galley, he made his way to the big bay where the lifeboats were currently sitting. Looking up he could just make out a shadow in his old birds nest, and he knew it was Natasha, hiding from the world.
The time he didn't... Clint felt it was wrong they didn't have a real funeral for Natasha, that Tony, in his usual manner, got all the press and glory for his sacrifice and she'd gotten nothing. Clint also knew she wouldn't have wanted all the press and glory, that wasn't her style, which is why he found himself on a sunny Saturday morning in a corner of his homestead not too far from the house putting up a memorial that she also wouldn't have wanted. "You don't always get what you want, Nat. Not this time." he muttered as he eased the stone in place.
"Do you always talk to yourself?" an accented voice broke into his mutterings.
"Just telling Nat she doesn't get what she wants all the time." he stood upright and stretched his back.
Wanda nodded. "She would understand why you need this. Why we all do. And what better place then with the family she loved?"