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not-at-all-Christmassy fic

Title: set fire to the third bar
Ficverse: The Avengers, AU
Series:
one shot
Rating: PG
Length: 4500 ish
Characters: Clint/Natasha
Teaser:
It was a strange thing, to know you were living a life that wasn't quite your own.
Notes: This basically grew out of a tangental comment to workerbee73 about what Clint would be like if he never ran away and joined the circus. And grew. And grew. And got cranky and wouldn't be finished in time for Bee's b'day (since it's mostly for her anyway), so ... Christmas, yay? Mega thanks to im_ridiculous and bitterlimetwist for taking a look and keeping me from throwing it out in frustration, and thoughtful feedback. Screw ups and weirdness all mine.
Warnings/Spoiler: AU. Clint never ran away, never became Hawkeye. Doesn't mean his path doesn't cross with a certain redhead's. Happy endings are very much in the eye of the beholder, though, so don't hold anyone's breath (unless you want to).
Disclaimer: Stuff that's not mine is not mine. Title from the song by Snow Patrol with Martha Wainwright.
Feedback: let's hear it. The good, the bad, the ugly....






It was a strange thing, to know you were living a life that wasn't quite your own.

Clint Barton was a man who didn’t miss much. He didn’t miss the nail’s head on the construction site; he didn’t miss a bullseye on the range; he didn’t miss on the bar’s old dartboard or pool table – he didn’t miss that it was a long time since anyone local would play him for money until he or they were good and drunk, and he didn’t miss it when even that stopped.

He didn’t miss the way the single ladies in his small country town eyed him, and he needed no one to tell him their mamas and aunts watched him with only a slightly modified version of the same look. He needed no one to tell him that, even with his uncompromising devotion to the adolescent boy and paraplegic widow he’d inherited from the car crash that took his brother, he was considered a catch.

So it was impossible for him to miss that he was different. Wrong. That no one else in their small, normal, molasses–pace country town carried a world of fire and violence around inside them; a world that every night called him in dreams to a beautiful dance from a perfect distance. He needed no one to tell him that there was no place for that world here, where molasses closed in like amber; knew the odd looks he got when he let slip something that struggled frantically and burned holes. But here was a place he owed a debt; a life lived whole, a safe family home, and he was not going to run away from that. So he ground grooves in amber and found his footing, learned to guard his mouth with just enough genial small-town chatter that no one noticed the life he lived took up too much silence and too much space.

He sometimes wondered if Barney had felt the same way, some kind of shared genetic appetite for turmoil and destruction that preyed on them right back. That had taken their pop in helpless drunken fury and indiscriminate fists, pushed their mother to bitter indifference and abandonment, and had become terror hard enough to wield a rifle in his big brother’s hands. That had galvanized his brother, at just fifteen, into taking on every responsibility and promise necessary to keep the state from splitting them up from each other or their home when their pop got into the last bar brawl he'd ever start. That not a decade later had chewed him up in a crunch of steel on the interstate, in such a way that he’d miraculously spared the lives of his wife and baby son.

Maybe it had been in them all along; maybe it’s what they had been meant to be. Maybe it was the normal, real world that was spitting the Bartons back out, like a transplant gone bad. Maybe one day the fire and violence would come to claim him for its own, too.

But until it did, he made the most of the life he owed to the only person who had never turned on him or abandoned him. He became the man in his brother’s family just as his brother had become the man for him. He made their home one of strength, of laughter and pride and understanding instead of brute power and fear. He held the other world at arm’s length for their sake, found joy in building things, diverting all that he was into making things grounded and strong and true. He became a man of the town, liked and respected and assumed to be one of their own, with an easy smile, a steady head, and unerring aim. He became a man he wasn’t really, but maybe should be.

And if he lived alone with the fire and violence, and if he circled it, and if he courted it with bow-hunting and occasional benders and volunteering with the state emergency services – and if, deep down, he sometimes thought the craving to finally meet it face-to-face would tear him in half – then he never let it make him miss the life he’d committed to live.



That afternoon the world was cool, and wet, and suffocating. It was the kind of afternoon he hated, dismal and so numb that it ignited an internal roar of protest. The kind that would, most times, see him drinking to a stupor or driving all night just to remember that he was alive. This afternoon, however, had provided something better, in the form of a emergency services volunteer summons.

He parked his truck outside the ring of flashing lights in the middle of nowhere, his spirits rising. When he climbed out with his jacket and gear, he didn’t miss the the relief on the face of his crew’s supervisor at the sight of him. Somewhere between construction and devastation, in the balance where he didn’t miss very much at all, he could walk up to disaster areas that were part-building, mostly-rubble, and know the seams of strength. He didn’t miss the subliminal warnings of compromised structural integrity, and when he gave the alarm, no one in their right mind stayed behind. Clint Barton, wrong and strange in ways they would never notice, was as close to a real-life good-luck charm as any of them could lay claim to.

He surveyed the scene as he made his way over to the other guys. “What d’we got?”

“Weird, is what,” Doug answered. “And trouble on top.”

Doug was a very capable supervisor; he didn’t spook easy. Clint liked him. He gave the collapsed compound a second look. “Trouble?”

“Yeah, the redhead-with-governmental-agency-out-the-ass kind.”

Well, that could be taken a number of ways. “Hm,” Clint offered.

Doug gave him a glum look, and a blueprint of the compound’s layout. “Listen, I need you to go inside the perimeter, tell me if you think there’s any stable way into that heap.”

Clint waited a moment longer, in case any more information was forthcoming on the request, then nodded and ducked through the cordon. As he headed around, he felt the primitive relish rising inside, like a bloodhound straining to be unleashed, every sense honed pinpoint sharp. Chaos roiled before him, calling him to its dance; and with a grin, he released the inner world to match its steps and blaze his path.

When he finally circled back forty minutes later, heavy clouds had turned the afternoon dark gray, and floodlights seared the intermittent rain white. Reaching the cement drive, he stamped the excess mud off his boots, slicked the water in his hair back from his face, and slowed down when it became clear he was returning to an argument.

“Listen, lady, there are still three people unaccounted for! You gotta let us –”

He didn’t miss much, and that went double when it came to women; even though the lady in question was standing with her back to Clint, she was still speaking volumes. From the deeply red hair dampened toffee-dark in the rain, to the impeccably stylish and deceptively sturdy boots, to the way her body curved all the way in between, those volumes were, indeed, entitled Trouble.

He maintained his distance.

A small gesture of her head, and the suit who was standing beside her spoke up firmly. “It’s a question of containment; in this matter, our agency has jurisdiction. Your people are under our standard protocol for such an event. We have experience with this kind of thing.”

Doug stared at the guy incredulously. “You’re saying this happens for you guys a lot? Is there a hazmat warning I should know about?”

“Of no conventional type.”

“What the f–”

“If we can get to the laboratory section, we will assess the risk level, if any. Now, can this man you spoke of help us do that or not?”

Doug’s back was well and truly up; watching him, Clint allowed himself a smirk. “Yeah, I’m gonna go with probably not, there, son. If I’m risking the lives of my guys, the priority’s gonna be to get the people out.” He looked up, caught Clint’s eyes, and issued an interrogative with his own. Clint returned it with a dubious expression and a shake of the head. Armed with this, Doug continued, “My best information right now has it that any kind of attempt at – at spelunking our way into the structure is prohibitively risky. I’m afraid I can’t let you in there. I’ll give the order to start excavating, and when we get close enough, maybe then –”

“Unacceptable.” Her voice brought every man there to a halt; it was a voice of sex and smoke and sliced like steel. Hanging back as he was, safely out of the line of fire, Clint watched the effect she had, smirk widening.

She continued, unstoppable. “You will give me two hours to get in, no interference with the structure. After that, the site is yours.”

“What ... you? By yourself? You can’t! That’s suicide, I can’t let you –”

Clint straightened. “I’ll go with her.”

Doug marched straight over and pulled him aside. “No! There’s no way you can get to that lab. And you have no idea what kind of toxic breach could be down there if you do! This whole thing is insane, but if she wants to be insane, then that’s what I’ll let her be. I’m not letting her take you with her.”

“The lady’s going in, Doug. I’m her best chance of coming out again.”

Doug put his hand on Clint’s shoulder. “Look me in the eye and tell me you can do this.”

Clint looked him in the eye. “I won’t let either of us die if I can help it.”

Eventually Doug broke away first, and swore. “She has two hours. Anything feels wrong, anything, you turn around and get right the hell out. Don’t take any chances, and if she gets herself into trouble, don’t you dare be any kind of hero. Two hours. Got me?”

Clint grinned, making Doug swear again. Clint just set his watch to two hours and raised his eyebrows until Doug grudgingly led them back to the others.

“This is Clint Barton. If anyone can find you a way in and out in one piece, it’s him. Clint, Ms Rushman.”

She turned, and he got most of “Ma’am” out of his mouth before their eyes met.

Clint Barton was a man who didn’t miss much. He didn’t miss that the woman standing in front of him was beautiful. Green eyed, full lipped, ivory skinned, glossy-magazine, one-girl-in-a-million stunning. He didn’t miss the grace and strength, the intellect and sensuality, the versatility and reserve in every perfect line of her face. He didn’t miss the iron will or the old soul deep in her eyes. He didn’t miss the thousand things that face and body could say and do, the ten thousand ways she could bring any man to his knees if she chose. He did not miss that she was trouble.

And he didn’t miss that every single one of those things was a mask. He needed no one to tell him that standing right here in front of him, staring right back at him, was a world of violence and fire.

He couldn’t say how long they stood that way, or why the rain spitting down around them didn’t incinerate on the spot. Neither of them moved, until Doug broke in and handed her a hard hat and safety gear.

“Clock’s started,” he said, jarring them into motion.

It only took a few minutes to strap and buckle on his own well-worn safety gear, in which time he studiously avoided looking in her direction at all. It was not until every piece was in place that he felt equal to meeting her gaze again, to hold it all at arm’s length.

“Ma’am?”

She, too, had built her walls back up. It helped, a little. Strangely, so did the fact that those walls couldn’t really hide what lay beneath – he thought the howl to tear them down might overwhelm him, otherwise.

“Lead the way, Mr Barton.”

He skirted them around the mounds of debris to where he’d spied a partially exposed stairwell, leading down into the ground. She gave him a calculating a look, almost challenging. The hole appeared no different to the warren of death traps all around it, but he knew he could explain his reading of it to her. How the contour of the mounds told him that the falling, sliding structure had tented along a fortunate angle, however precarious. How according to the blueprints, the passageway below ran close enough to that angle that it might not have caved in completely, and would eventually cross paths with the excessively reinforced subterranean laboratory. How even that might not be enough, because from the overview he’d triangulated by climbing the floodlight poles, the point of origin for the destruction appeared to be that very lab.

He held her look, and clicked on his flashlight without a single word.

Her lips quirked the tiniest amount. She reached up and turned on her headlamp, then in one fluid motion crouched down and went straight in.

He shouldn’t be grinning. He wiped it off his face and slithered in after her, found her serenely waiting at the bottom of the stairwell for him to once more lead the way.

He did so, with no more need to open his mouth than before. For nearly an hour they picked and dug their way through the fall-ins along the passageway in silence, the merest pause or gesture of the lightbeam enough to communicate intention, working as smoothly together as two hands of one body. The deeper they went, the more seamless it became, the brief necessary touches to boost or steady the other coming automatically, without even looking; a beautiful dance with a perfect rhythm.

It didn’t occur to him to find it odd that burrowing into a pitch-black concrete rubble coffin, toward the source of the destruction, was the most free and alive he’d ever felt. Everything had burned away except his focus on the target, the purity of aim that ensured they would not miss. Finally, he scraped through an opening into a clear pocket that felt different, felt ... right. He stopped, and took stock, running his light over the juncture they’d come to, then turned it on her as she rose to her feet behind him.

“Laboratory,” he said, voice rusty with the dust, but no less smug for it.

A slow smile flared into being on her face, deep and real and impressed, and he needed no one to tell him that he was seeing a very rare thing. She nodded her acknowledgment, then took the lead, following the curve of the passage to where a heavy sliding door in the wall was stuck half open. He followed her in, then had to throw his hand up to shield his eyes from the sudden blaze of light near the middle of the room.

Once his eyes had adjusted, he could make her out, standing next to the source of the light, examining it as it pulsed. Since she obviously didn’t need his help, he turned his attention to the damage pattern within the room. The ceiling was sagging crazily; one section had come down completely. The only reason the room was still a room was because of another section, sloping from the floor to the one part of the ceiling that hadn’t collapsed. The hairs on the back of his neck rose as he studied it; it most definitely wasn’t going to stay that way. He began a sweep around the room.

Soon he had seen all he needed to. “So the good news is Doug won’t have to risk anyone to rescue the three people unaccounted for.”

“Dead?” She sounded supremely unsurprised.

“Very.”

“The bad news?”

“He’s not going to know that if we don’t leave in the next few minutes, assuming the passage we cleared remained open. And maybe not even then.”

She looked up for the first time. “I need longer.”

“Sure. You can have fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. Then this ceiling is going to go, and the entire corridor we came down is going to hold up about as well as a row of dominos.”

She locked eyes with him from across the lab, a variation on the calculating look she gave him before. But he knew this time her calculation wasn’t about his judgment; the dance between them remained seamless, and she knew he was certain of his verdict.

Abruptly she turned, cutting free from him. “You should go.”

In one way, the shock of it was as if she had severed him in half. For the first time since they’d ventured underground, his mind went to molasses and amber, to the faces of his brother and his family, to grooves of duty and things grounded and strong and true. To the world above that was normal and real, everything he owed and everything he’d given.

In another, much deeper way, it made the truth he’d been circling around impossible to miss. He needed no one to tell him he’d been claimed; that he might as well try to live severed in half as live with this woman being buried underground, alone. He strode over to her, closed the distance until she was looking up at him from inches away, the play of light like flames over their faces.

“I – have people that I.... I have a family.”

For the first time, a flicker of confusion showed in those crystal clear green eyes. “Then go.”

He didn’t move. He only looked down at her, a whole world held out in his eyes, and didn’t miss the moment when she accepted it from him. Another smile stole into her face now, and he needed no one to tell him he was seeing something no one else ever had. It was a smile of a lifetime; for the few moments it lasted, he lived in it a life entirely his own.

A life not alone.

She raised her hand in wonder, touched his cheek for a few more moments. Then, with startling speed, she dug into her utility belt and thrust something into his hands. “Put these around the room. Ten second delay. Make sure they’ll turn everything in here to dust.”

Looking down at the several charges he held, he felt the world inside him flex. For the first time ever he let go, let it take full control. Without question he turned, knowing the exact points that would ensure total destruction. While he worked, fixing them securely and arming the remote detonators, he didn’t miss the feverish speed with which she was suddenly working on the device; nor did he miss the creaks and groans of tons of earth and concrete succumbing to gravity bit-by-bit. By the time he returned to her side, he didn’t need her to ask.

“Four minutes. Maybe.”

She tossed him the remote detonator without sparing him a look. “I hope it’s enough.”

“For what?”

“To get you back to your family. Stand over there, and don’t move. No matter what.”

Now he was the confused one, but he obeyed, standing on the small circular platform she indicated a few yards away. She continued her work, a small frown marring her otherwise calm features. Suddenly the device gave a whum of energy and a brilliant pulse of light.

“What are you doing?

“It’s a matter transporter. Or it would be, if I can get the power level high enough, and the core program online to tell me what went wrong, and –” she hit it with her palm and said some words that weren’t English but were definitely very rude – “make it work properly!”

There was a lot about all of that he would not have accepted from anyone else’s mouth. But here with her, with the real world drifting further and further away, he took it in without question. He made to move toward her, but she stopped him with an upflung hand.

“No! Stay right there. And when I tell you to blow those charges, you do it!”

There was also a lot about it she wasn’t saying, and he didn’t miss any of it. “This thing can – transport – two people?”

For the first time since he’d laid eyes on her, he saw her hesitate. “It’d take more power – more time. Too much.”

He stepped off the platform.

She gave him a furious look, but he shook his head. “Then don’t waste time arguing. Either we’re both standing there, or we don’t go.”

After one white-hot glare, she took his advice, ignoring him completely while she worked. The whum-pulses of the device came faster and harder, competing with the booms and crunches filling the world around them. The tempo of both increased apace, and though he strained every sense and instinct he possessed, he could not tell which would hit critical mass first.

It seemed to happen at the same time. The pulse-rate plateaued, stable and strobing across her smirk of satisfaction. She turned toward him, and with a crash like the footfall of God, the ceiling came down sideways.

“Blow the charges!” For a second she was obscured behind falling debris, nearly inaudible. He pressed the remote det, then tossed it aside, ignoring the ten-second countdown that began in the back of his head. Every other screed of his being had focused on her, on the rubble slewing down between them and how to get her through it to the platform.

The slightest check in the avalanche had her diving forward, and it wouldn’t be enough. He lunged in, flinging out his arm to hers; they connected, took hold.

He threw all his weight and strength back toward the platform, pulling her to him.

She was in his arms, falling.

The world smashed down with a boom of fire and violence.



The world was cool, and wet, and suffocating.

Clint coughed, and felt things shift and topple across him. A couple of seconds after the ringing in his head and pain made him realize he was still alive, he realized he was holding something tight; hunched protectively over it as stray wreckage continued to settle around them. His eyes snapped open, too fast, the floodlight lancing into his aching head. He fought to keep them open anyway, squinting down at the face of the woman in his arms.

It was bloodless and covered in grit and dust. He raised his hand, ignoring the raw shriek of his muscles, and ran a thumb across her cheek, smearing the few raindrops that had fallen on it into a streak of mud. Silently begging her eyes to open, he didn’t miss their first flutter, the quiet moan of waking. He didn’t miss the way they opened and fixed straight on him, green and alive and crystal clear. After a moment, a tiny smile shared itself between them, an ember gleam marking all that had just passed.

She let her eyes drift shut, a slight nod of acknowledgment. He allowed his head to droop forward, rest next to hers on the rubble as he took stock of life and limb. He found, after a few minutes of just breathing in time with her, that he probably could move. It took a few tries, but they eventually managed to crawl free, and then up the nearest slope.

Once there, he half-sat, half-collapsed, and didn’t so much give her a hand up as let her pull herself up by his arm. Then he slumped back against the peak, blinking up at the white streaks of rain against a black sky, ignoring the way they made the grime itch on his face. Next to him, she was on the radio, giving their position atop the epicenter of the wreckage. That done, she lay back too, shoulder bumping against his.

They stayed there for what seemed like hours, unmoving in the silence and space that surrounded them as the rain continued to fall. Clint waited for it to resolve into one of his dreams, to wake and discover he was alone in his room, but it didn’t happen. He’d never felt more awake.

It didn’t really take Doug very long to find them, and Clint kept waiting. Waiting for the moment when the real here, the normal here, meant that he had to push everything to arms’ length once more. Waited through Doug’s anxious, relieved, baffled questions. Waited with Doug hovering over him, sitting at the back of the ambulance for the all-clear from the EMT, the signal that this flare of fire and violence was spent.

Waited as he watched her shrug off medical attention, conferring instead with her suited assistant, in what was undoubtedly a far more thorough debrief than what he’d given Doug. Waited, bracing for the growing distance between their bodies to snap their worlds apart, isolated pockets stranded in normalcy. Wrong, and alone.

Waiting, watching, he didn’t miss the very second she was finished here.

Didn’t miss the way she turned around, eyes jolting to his.

In that moment, the waiting ended. He knew: there was nothing separating them. Not the yards of mud or rain between them, not the bustle of people and their various demands, not amber or molasses, not duty or love or family, and not time, time ticking down about to part them, perhaps forever. He had claimed, and been claimed; nothing called or circled or taunted any longer. A lifetime of fire and violence, of her, simmered inside him, a world united and complete.

It rose into a quiet smile, mingling with hers. They made no move toward each other. Nothing needed to be said, or done. It simply was.

After a minute, her assistant drove up, and with one last look back, she was gone. He watched until the taillights disappeared into the dark, carrying him away with her, leaving her behind with him.

Clint stood, ignoring the minor bruises and strains. He called home to let them know when he was likely to be back, then went to see what Doug needed from him for the rest of his shift. He didn’t miss the worry and pride in his nephew’s voice, and made sure to allay his fears, didn’t miss the warmth in his sister-in-law for doing so. He didn’t miss the smiles and relief of the crew, didn’t need to be told how this latest event reinforced their superstition of his lucky status. He didn’t miss the way the world inside cleaved smoothly through the drag of reality around him, without catch or hitch, the way nothing had changed and yet everything was different.

And he couldn’t miss her. Every step, every moment, every action, she was there, the shape of violence and fire within him. He would never again hold it away.

It was a strange thing, to know that you were living a life not quite your own, alone with someone who wasn’t there. But he didn’t miss it.

Comments

( 69 speakses — have a speak )
workerbee73
Dec. 24th, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
Best Christmas present ever.

I've been dying to read this story ever since the day we started talking about it, so many long months ago. And now here it is and it's better than I could have possibly imagined. The longing is palpable but its also so full of closure, so complete and supremely satisfying that I'm sitting here with a big contended smile on my face.

I love the way you write Clint. I love how strong he feels, and how real he is; I never doubt his intent or his sincerity for a second. I love the glimpse of Natasha that we get here, even though she was the one being beheld as it were... and what I wouldn't give for a snippet of her the week after this incident sitting at her desk with a cup of coffee staring out into space and feeling the pull of molasses and amber and a dark grey Iowa sky. I want to see them meet up again, maybe just once; I think it'd be enough and never enough all at once (could it ever be enough?)

((And selfishly I want them to have just one kiss.))

The honesty in this is beautiful and it makes what at first appears to be an impossible premise so incredibly believable. And the prose is gorgeous too, as always. As is the imagery. Fire and violence and a world full of distance (and I bet she feels him near, always near, feels handprints all over her body because that's how she processes.)

This fic is like all those beautiful discussions come full circle. I'm in awe.

(oh-- and you better post this over at be_compromised or I'll be forced to take drastic action. we clear? :)

So much love, my dear. Merry Christmas. <3
themonkeytwin
Dec. 25th, 2012 11:41 am (UTC)
I am so, so glad it hit the spot (so to speak :p)! In the end, just one look between them simply wasn't enough, really, they needed their little adventure too. :)

I love how strong he feels, and how real he is; I never doubt his intent or his sincerity for a second.

When I stop to think about it, it keeps taking me by surprise how effortlessly simple he is – as simple and true as an arrow striking center-target. He's unique, really, and a pleasure to write. And, of course, the way Renner plays him, he's such a *visceral* actor, it's magnetic. (I just saw The Town. *flail* :'( He gives such good anti-hero.)

sitting at her desk with a cup of coffee staring out into space and feeling the pull of molasses and amber and a dark grey Iowa sky.

You know, I do get the feeling a tiny bit of SHIELD's resources might get diverted to doing some intel-gathering in Nowheresville, Iowa. After all, they're always on the lookout for extraordinary personel, right? Who knows what might happen in a few years' time? :)

((And selfishly I want them to have just one kiss.))

((I can't speak to that. After I wrote it, I realised there was highly figurative, fire-and-violence version of quick-and-desperate against-the-wall sex lurking in metaphor under all there. Ahem. *cough*))


impossible premise so incredibly believable.

Thank you! I seem to be making a habit of that with you. :) It's either that or a super-slow burn, I don't know if I have any middle gears!

and I bet she feels him near, always near, feels handprints all over her body because that's how she processes.

... I hadn't even thought of that, but YES. OMG, yes, that's EXACTLY how it'd be for her. Well, if another bunny ever pops its head up for what could happen later on, I've got my imagery hook for it.

you better post this over at be_compromised or I'll be forced to take drastic action.

Haha, sure. Although I do kind of want to see what "drastic action" would look like ;)

<3

Edited at 2012-12-25 11:42 am (UTC)
- workerbee73 - Dec. 25th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - Dec. 26th, 2012 10:55 am (UTC) - Expand
- workerbee73 - Dec. 26th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
okay now i'm just spamming you. - workerbee73 - Dec. 25th, 2012 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay now i'm just spamming you. - themonkeytwin - Dec. 26th, 2012 11:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay now i'm just spamming you. - workerbee73 - Dec. 26th, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay now i'm just spamming you. - themonkeytwin - Dec. 27th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC) - Expand
- workerbee73 - Dec. 27th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - Dec. 27th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC) - Expand
- workerbee73 - Dec. 27th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - Dec. 27th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
- workerbee73 - Dec. 27th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - Dec. 27th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC) - Expand
- workerbee73 - Dec. 27th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Dec. 25th, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
Hi! Welcome. I'm so glad you liked it, thank you :)

the fire and violence that always exists below the surface, in whatever universe, and draws them inexplicably and inevitably towards each other.

There's definitely a strange yin-yang of sameness going on between them. And allows for a more lyrical, heightened style, because that's just what they are, how they live.

I'm also a tad heartbroken yet also exhilarated by the ending.

Perfect compliment is perfect. Seriously, thank you, that ending refused to *land* for the longest time, and that was kind of exactly what I was going for. :):)

And your Clint is a dream in every single way.

And I'm kind of staring helplessly at your icon. O.O He has that effect, no? :)

Merry Christmas and you are very welcome! <3
autumnrhythm30
Dec. 25th, 2012 08:57 am (UTC)
I love this!
themonkeytwin
Dec. 25th, 2012 11:54 am (UTC)
Thank you!
alphaflyer
Dec. 25th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
What a fantastic read on a Christmas morning (family still asleep ...). Not at all Christmassy you say? I caught a slightly twisted, A/U aura of "It's a Wonderful Life" in there that was both heart-breaking and life-affirming, centred around the basic core of loyalty and integrity that is Clint Barton.

Beautifully done, and yes -- if the "suit who was standing beside her" was Coulson, and if he has the eyes we think he does for the remarkable, and he and Natasha talkk ... then there's a sequel in there ... If you want, that is. Just sayin'.

Fabulously well written.
themonkeytwin
Dec. 26th, 2012 11:05 am (UTC)
What a fantastic read on a Christmas morning (family still asleep ...).

I'm glad you had a lovely calm before the storm! ;)

a slightly twisted, A/U aura of "It's a Wonderful Life" in there

I'll have to take your word for it – I've never seen it! I know, it's scarcely to be imagined, but true. Although I know the basic idea of the movie, and from that I can see what you're saying. I'll take it!

if the "suit who was standing beside her" was Coulson

I wasn't sure even in my head, actually, but it's totally possible....

And thank you!
shenshen77
Dec. 25th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous prose, utterly believable, captivating characterization... this is really beautiful and a lovely Christmas treat :) Thank you for sharing with us!
themonkeytwin
Dec. 26th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it, and you're welcome :)
im_ridiculous
Dec. 25th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
Oh you posted it!! Yay :)
This really works for me too, well done you, it's just perfect. The realisation stuff, the imagery, and of course your typically lovely language is all just great, and this ending is perfect too.

And ya know what? Going out on a shipper limb here, but the no-kiss decision here is, I think, a good one. (sorry Bee!!! ;)) Forming this searing, elemental connection, and seeing that formed, was more than enough for me. I love the snapping-worlds-apart image too, like (less sophisticatedly) a bubble splitting in two: something that's absolutely one thing suddenly and completely severed into two. It's perfect. Two complete companion pieces, together in the world but alone in it... I don't know, maybe it's just my mood at the moment but it sang to me :) Metaphorical wall!sex though? Sure, I'll buy that ;)

Well done dude, just loved it!
workerbee73
Dec. 25th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
obnoxiously jumping in to say that the no-kiss was totally the way to go here. (i simply demand that the kiss be included in the inevitable "nat cannot leave well enough alone and 3 years from now decides to go hunt his ass down in nowheresville, iowa, and they spend one perfect night together that strangely enough probably doesn't involve sex but involves earth shattering looks and longing and talking and not-talking. and oh yeah, what was it? kissing" sequel.)

i'm not sayin', i'm just sayin.'

but srsly, the no-kiss works so well b/c i think after a moment like this, there's no physical gesture that could hope to compete. everything else would pale in comparison. this is too big and too scary and too unwieldy. it cannot be labeled or quantified, it simply has to be experienced.

plus it's way better than any ole kiss. <3
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angela_n_hunt
Dec. 26th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
I want a whole freaking novel of this. One. Whole. Freaking. Novel.

That is all.

*RIDICULOUS SEAL CLAPS OF APPROVAL*
themonkeytwin
Dec. 26th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)
Thank you! I kind of love AU!Clint here, too – I don't know if there's a novel in it, but depending on how persuasive Bee is, we may see a follow up ... eventually....

*BOWS*
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franztastisch
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
This is really damn good. :)
themonkeytwin
Dec. 27th, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)
purely_distel
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
Wow, woooow, WOW! This was amazing. The inner dialogue was so amazing and full and SPOT ON. The nearly split way Clint views his life. Absolutely amazing. And of course their instant connection gave me way too many feels. I feel like begging you for more, though I guess it would be a bit futile ... right? But I feel as if Clint needs ... needs to resolve this. To find the life he feels he belongs in ... gnaaah. This was one heck of an amazing story! Thank you for sharing it with us!
themonkeytwin
Dec. 27th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you! Clint on the inside is a very comfortable place to be, actually, I kind of really like it in here. :)

And insta-connection LIEK WHOA was the whole idea behind this story, so I'm very happy indeed that it gave you all those feels! It was supposed to. Hee!

And, well, no promises, but as you can see, Bee's on the case. So we'll see how that goes ;)
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:13 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I love this song, and the story idea refused to germinate until I found the right song for it (my fic!brain is an odd place, sometimes).

the instant bond between him and Natasha and the ambiguous ending. It's melancholy but still hopeful.

Ha, my kinks, let me show you them – all tied up in a lyrical, sometimes brutal, hyper-real setting ;) I'm just glad other people like them too!
astridv
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC)
I found that totally fascinating to read, it has such an intense quality. Really like it.
themonkeytwin
Feb. 7th, 2013 10:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love when I get to write something pared down to a few vivid strokes, and comic-based realities really lend themselves to that. I'm glad you liked it :)
danceswchopstck
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
Great story! I'm here by way of astridv's rec, and found it riveting, seamless, and thrumming!

Also, *cough*, I have an idea of how a sequel might come about. Would you (a) like to hear the idea, and/or (b) be OK with me writing a short follow-up?

Your call. Thanks for the excellent read!
themonkeytwin
Feb. 8th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!

I actually have the basic shape of a sequel in the works, I'm just a slow writer and mulling over characterisation issues takes me the longest. So – I'm always open to ideas and discussion and everything. I'd be happy for you to share them or write them yourself if you're so inspired (although depending on where my brain's at, I might not be able to read a fic, its inner workings are unknowable and flighty and troublesome that way). So ... I guess it's back in your court. :)
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