“He’s all heart,” Laura had said of Clint once, fondly, a little mocking, as he puttered about making spaghetti with a toddler clinging to one shin.
Natasha remembered that, on the plane to Calcutta to fetch Bruce— remembered that night, salad with bottled ranch dressing that little Cooper got everywhere, Clint telling circus stories and burning a pot of coffee, tiny Lila falling asleep on her lap smelling like mud and glue.
She remembered— Clint had plucked his children up and put them to bed, and Natasha had snuck into the kitchen whose layout she had just been coming to know. When they got back from storytime and “no, one more! pwease!” Natasha had been curled up on the couch again and every dish in the kitchen had been clean.
Natasha remembered that when she watched the footage of Loki’s arrival— of his theft of the cube, the scientist, and Clint. She curled up in the bucket seat of a plane whose destination she was trying to force herself to care about.
Clint Barton has heart.
Natasha didn’t want to call Laura. She wanted to be Phil Coulson, and define need-to-know in the way that best pleased her.
When Clint was sleepy, pre-coffee in the morning, he fit his forehead perfectly into the curve of Laura’s shoulder. Natasha knew now where they kept all their mugs, and which ones Lila and Cooper each liked best for bedtime hot chocolate. Clint was crude, sarcastic, cutting, and Laura was even worse— she was just more private with it, quiet and pretty until you got close enough and she dropped a word or two about how she really felt about Nick Fury.
Laura’s number wasn’t on Natasha’s speed-dial, because that would be irresponsible. The digits were tucked in the back of her head. Like with Coulson’s and Clint’s, Natasha knew how to dial them in behind her back, with one hand.
She dialed with the phone balanced on her pulled-up knees while the plane rocked a bit with turbulence. Lila picked up, listing and cheerfully shrill, and Natasha buried her face in her knees because there was no one around to see.
“Hey sweetie,” she said, her voice perfectly level, her eyes screwed shut and her whole body curled achingly in on itself. “Can you put your mom on?”
— i made a name for myself by dirgewithoutmusic