ONE SHOT: Know You Better
Know You Better
Pairing: Clint Barton / Natasha Romanoff (Clintasha, Blackhawk)
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There are things Natasha knows about Clint that he does not know about himself.
1) He cannot look at a dog without smiling.
When they are on assignments, if they happen across a canine, Clint will grin. He tries to hide it, or keep it small, when he’s not supposed to be smiling. The closer the dog is, the bigger Clint’s grin threatens to become. A dog that Clint can pet may result in him smiling enough for teeth to show, and if he gets to cuddle it, there is a good chance of him smiling and maybe even laughing easily for the rest of the day.
Puppies are worse. Natasha has seen Clint turn into some bizarre form of goofy when puppies are present. At times such as those, she considers it a wonder that Clint’s entire apartment building hasn’t been filled with furry mongrels he falls in love with every five minutes.
The dog that lives with him is more of a friend and companion than a pet, and probably the only reason Clint doesn’t smile constantly at home around it is because he thinks of him as his friend, not as a dog. Lucky, he calls him, which strikes Natasha as incredibly typical of the normalcy Clint has always yearned for in life. But then again, Natasha has seen the dog eat pizza right out of Clint’s mouth, Clint grinning the entire time, and so perhaps the smile-at-dogs rule applies even to Lucky.
2) Clint’s left shoes wear out before his rights.
Though the archer is ambidextrous, he does slightly favor his left hand. Consequently, a small percentage more of his arrows are fired with a favoring to his left side rather than the right, a small percentage of his daily life is favored with his left side as well, and the weight distribution results in the left shoes taking more wear-down than the right ones.
She has tested Clint’s ambidexterity, throwing things at him without warning and at random intervals for years. Actually, she’s been doing it since the day they met. She knows he can catch equally well on either side (when she doesn’t get too sneaky and smack him in the head or chest before he can throw a hand up), but the left gets used a little extra anyway. The human brain chooses a side to favor no matter how balanced the skills, and while Clint may be unaware of his very slight favoritism, Natasha has seen it.
During missions, if Clint is taking a particularly difficult shot in close range of herself, Natasha does her best to ensure it is easy for him to use that favored lefty instinct if his subconscious chooses to.
3) Clint prefers his coffee the tiniest bit bitter when he’s feeling anxious or unsettled without clear reason; he prefers his coffee as smooth as possible when sad or angry.
Clint has his moods, the same as anyone else. He is also a coffee fiend: coffee is a tool he relies on for consciousness as well as a comfort substance. This he acknowledges, but he doesn’t seem to realize that when uncomfortable, he makes or orders his brew just a bit on the bitter side. Natasha has stocked his coffee cabinet with blends bitter and smooth, and noted how he reflexively reaches for one kind more than the other. Cheaper beans seem to be best for an anxious Hawkeye.
She thinks this is a balance thing. By imbibing something with an edge from outside himself, Clint perhaps is relieving some of the edge within his mind. Perhaps it is a chemical thing, some subtle biochemical response to those particular coffee blends that eases discomfort.
But when he’s sad, or furious, Clint’s smoother blends are a comfort of better worth, it seems. He savors these, rather than gulp them down as he usually does with coffee. When Clint is angry enough to be clenching his jaw, no longer talking things out (and Clint is the one between the two of them who is a proponent of talking for coping), Natasha brings him a coffee from a small artisanal shop out of Portland, the smoothest she has researched. She doesn’t tell him that it’s special, but she has seen it soothe his fury far quicker than mere patience.
She keeps a bag of the blend in her footlocker, carefully sealed in an airtight container, just in case, as well as a grinder and press to use solely with those beans. She has become an expert in the art of a good cup of coffee.
4) When he wants to tell her something, but time or clearance or privacy won’t allow, Clint favors standing on her left. When he wants to tell her something and is allowed, he tends to stand on her right until he blurts out whatever secret he’s about to share.
Sometimes Natasha will deliberately stand with her left side to a wall when Clint seems to be trying to keep a secret. His body becomes anxious for not being able to take up its subconscious comfort zone, and it wears him down faster.
Natasha can always get a secret out of Clint when she wants to.
5) Clint is in love with her, but he won’t tell her.