I wrote this on my phone last night when the weather was being crazy, and it has the Krysta stamp of approval so I feel like it might be ok to post.
There are times Natasha thinks that’s all that’s left of her - the things that others have made her to be.
She’s clung tightly to the little pieces of herself she’s been allowed to keep. Hides them somewhere deep, behind thick walls of stoic professionalism.
She does her job and she does it well. She doesn’t get involved in the petty day to day concerns of the other members of the Avengers Initiative. They tease her and call her a robot, but she shrugs it off. They can think what they want.
The pieces of her true self are locked down deep inside. The longer it takes people to realize they’re there, the better.
No one is going to get the chance to complete the task of unmaking her. She’s made very certain of that.
But then there is Clint.
She holds him at arms length, always has, but there’s still a tether there, a connection.
Most days she pretends it’s not there.
But then there are days like today, when she’s tired of fighting and tired of hiding. Days when she needs the human contact to remember that she ishuman, flesh and blood and very real. Days when she lets him see.
She cooks for him. She’s good at it, she likes it, and he’s good at eating.
They clean up together and she hums little snatches of songs from her childhood under her breath as she rinses their things and hands them to Clint to dry.
They sit on the couch in her tiny apartment and watch old movies, in each other’s space with their legs tangled up together.
It’s comfortable and easy, because he never makes it a big deal and he never pries. He’s just there, when she needs him. A solid presence, maybe the most solid thing she knows.
Someday, she thinks on days like today, someday the little pieces she shows to Clint will pile up and he’ll see all the ways he has the power to hurt her. Someday, she will trust enough, be brave enough to welcome that risk.
Until then there is a shared bowl of ice cream and quiet companionship.
It’s enough to keep her her, and she’s more grateful for that than she will ever let him know.