Disclaimer: I own nothing. This did come from a prompt, but I don't actually remember what the prompt was, and I altered it slightly anyway
The first time Natalia met Hawkeye, she was highly surprised by him. Of course she'd heard about him - he was a highly skilled assassin after all. But she hadn't expected him to be so human behind his mask.
They'd been assigned the same target. Her by her Red Room superiors, him by whoever was paying a good price. Either way, the pudgy drug dealer in the crowded ballroom below was about to get it in the neck.
It should've been a simple mission. Get in, seduce the target, get him to a private place, make the kill, disappear. The first two stages went without flaw. The sweating man in the expensive suit was enamoured by the beautiful woman flirting with him, and was all too delighted when she, giggling, suggested that they 'took things upstairs'. As she walked through the corridor, she could've sworn she could feel someone watching her. She had been taught to trust her instincts, which were telling her that in some way or another, things were about to get messy.
Her mark pushed her against the wall of the room and began pawing at her, but she was too distracted by the sound of a guard stepping into place outside the door. This didn't necessarily complicate things, as she had been intending on a silent kill anyway. The man was beginning to annoy her now, so she gently pushed him away from her, and pulled her dress off. The fool was distracted - she could almost see the drool coming from his mouth - and then she struck, quickly and silently, just as she had been taught. He died instantly from the knife wound. She felt uncomfortable though - she felt sure she'd heard someone swear up in the vents. She moved over to look at the vent, and knocked into a table containing several antique vases. One fell, but she dived and caught it. Just in time for another to fall off the other side.
"Sir, are you alright?" the guard said, walking into the room. He instantly spotted the dead body, and screamed, "Murder! Mur-" Natalia slit his throat, swearing. That really did complicate things. Stupid! Her handlers would be furious about this. She rushed to the balcony, just as three more guards rushed into the room. Before she had time to do anything, the vent popped open and three arrows shot out, killing the men instantly, followed swiftly by the archer. Hawkeye.
"We should probably move," he said softly, joining her by the balcony and jumping onto the railing. He moved very gracefully, she noted. With his muscled physique, he'd make a dangerous opponent in a fight.
"You made me mess up my kill," she hissed.
"We can stay and get killed if you really want." He scratched the back of his head with his spare arm, then gestured to the ground three stories below. "I would rather climb." More guards ran into the room, who Natalia promptly shot. She loved concealed weapons. Hawkeye jumped off the balcony, and she watched him scaling down the building, before copying him with a shake of her head.
Gunshots rang out as they ran across the dark square. A bit late for the bodyguards to be attempting their job really. The two assassins dodged the bullets as they darted through the streets. She could hear a car beginning to race up behind them. She shot at the tyres, but the stupid things wouldn't burst. Bulletproof tyres sucked. A bullet grazed her, and she swore again.
"Can't you deal with this thing?" she yelled at Hawkeye.
"I'm trying," he grunted, and then suddenly the car exploded. She was blown off her feet, and the last thing she felt was a sudden pain before she blacked out.
The bed was soft and warm, and Natalia really didn't want to move. She stretched out and felt pain throb through her back. With her enhancements, her injuries should be healed within a few hours.
"Hey, don't move yet. I'm not done," a low voice warned her. She didn't recognise the voice at first, and burst upwards with a hard punch. The person yelped as she hit their shoulder and grabbed her wrists. "I'm not gonna hurt you," he said. And then she recognised him. Why was Hawkeye still here? She tugged her wrists hard to try and free herself, but he didn't let go.
"If you don't let go, I will slit your throat," she growled.
"Promise you won't hurt me if I do let go?" he said warily. Natalia rolled her eyes, but nodded. True to his word, he released her wrists. "I was trying to clean up your wounds a bit, they aren't too bad, but I didn't want to chance it."
"If you took any of my clothes of-"
"No, no, I only looked at what I could see on bare skin. And there kinda is quite a lot of that." She growled and slapped him hard.
"That came out wrong! Also you promised you wouldn't hurt me," he said, looking down at his lap. He actually looked hurt, like he'd expected that she'd trust him and she almost felt herself feeling sorry for him. Almost. "Anyway, what's your name?"
"Are you quite done messing with me?"
"Maybe I did distract you with your kill, but I still helped with the guards, blew up the car, and cleaned your wounds."
"None of which I would've needed if you hadn't interfered."
"Can we at least call a truce? I don't kill you, you don't kill me." She thought for a moment. Her superiors wouldn't approve of this, she was certain, but there might be certain advantages to having Hawkeye as a person who maybe wouldn't kill her.
"My life's screwed up enough already without you trying to kill me as well. Besides, you look like you need someone you can trust." He shrugged and ran his hands through his hair. She could understand his first point, that much was sure. But his second? She could trust her handlers, and the Red Room. She'd been taught it all her life, and was steadfastly ignoring the small voice that had been growing over the last few years, saying that they were wrong.
"Truce," she finally agreed. There was no harm in it. And the beaming smile he gave her made it completely worth it. He looked like a different person when he smiled. She could almost imagine the person he might have been if he didn't lead the life of an assassin. It made her realise that he wasn't much older than her either. Only a few years in it at most. She was sure he didn't have half the training she did either. Impressive.
The next day, Natalia had a rendez-vous with her handler at twelve hundred hours. She decided it was probably safe to have a look around the city, maybe see some of the sights. She could blend in very well when she wanted to, and she reckoned she could take any remaining bodyguards in a fight. She was trying not to think about Hawkeye. They had parted ways yesterday, off to find their next kills probably. Natalia walked past a dingy side alley, full of rubbish and abandoned bikes. She could hear the sound of scuffle and yelping. The yelps sounded horribly like Hawkeye's had when she slapped him, but she wasn't going to get involved. She ducked out of sight and watched as several men dragged a bound and bloodied man out of the alley and into a waiting car. She got the briefest of glimpses of his face. Shit. She didn't need to do anything, she told herself. They had called a truce, and all it said was they didn't kill each other. But what if the men killed Hawkeye? If she didn't do anything, by extension she would be killing him. Shit. She grabbed an abandoned bike from the alley and shot after the car.
Natalia hadn't ridden bikes very often, but she liked the feeling of wind whipping past her face. It was almost like being free. Now, though, she was hurtling at breakneck speed after the men, who had almost certainly gone to the late drug dealer's mansion. She really hoped they had anyway, she had no way of finding him if they did.
It took far too long to get to the house. She really hoped she wasn't too late. She breathlessly picked the lock on the front door - security was so shabby these days - and raced into the hallway. If I was a goon and wanted to beat someone up, where would I go, she thought. Basement. Less blood on the floors, she reasoned, and began searching for a staircase. It took her at least ten minutes, if not more to locate the shabby door in the servants' quarters in a separate wing of the house. Her heart was pounding as she sprinted down the stairs, before bursting into the large room. Everyone stared at her. Five goons, and Hawkeye chained to a chair. He was a bloody mess - red stains all over his torn clothes, and all through his hair and down his face.
"Shit," he moaned softly. And then the goons moved, almost in unison. She was faster. She moved in a graceful dance of death, stabbing and shooting each of them, probably slightly more times than necessary. Because they had hurt Hawkeye and only she was allowed to do that now. There was no way it was because she liked him. No. She stalked over to him and stared down at him.
"Hey," he said with a bloody grin.
"I leave you alone for one day and this happens?" He winced and shifted against the restraints. "Are you completely incapable?"
"It wasn't my fault, they just-"
"How do you even survive if every time you kill someone, their goons come to kill you?"
"Why did you come?"
"We had a truce. If I hadn't come, they would've killed you and by extension I would've killed you." She leant down and picked the restraints open. He tried to stand, but collapsed on the floor. "You are a mess." She hoisted him to feet, ignoring the lurch her stomach gave at the little whimper and began pushing him towards the door, letting him lean on her shoulders.
Impulsively, she pushed Hawkeye into the car he'd been kidnapped in, and he slumped on the dashboard. The blood was drying on his face now. Natalia really hoped that none of the local police saw - corrupt as they were, even they wouldn't ignore someone in his state. She ran back to the house and grabbed the car keys from the side.
"Hawkeye, is there anywhere I can take you?" He didn't respond, so she slapped him.
"Owww," he moaned.
"Is there anywhere I can take you?"
"I have a safe house. Just drop me off, I'll be okay." He gave her the address and she sped off. Looking at the time she realised that she really couldn't help him, or she'd miss her rendez-vous. He gave several moans throughout the journey, although that could've been down to her driving - she could be very wild sometimes. The biggest perk of driving in a stolen car was definitely that speed cameras became wonderfully irrelevant.
Checking the time once more, she decided she could afford the time to help him inside.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?"
"Yeah, I think so." He gave her his genuine grin again, and her heart swelled slightly.
"Good. I won't be breaking our truce then." He laughed at that.
"Good meeting you." He painfully began to walk into the apartment. "I'm Clint, by the way." She watched him push himself along the wall.
"Natalia," she called, and left.