Author's Note: A little something just-an-acrobat who possibly loves Clint and Natasha even more than I do. Impossible, right? :) Summary: Sometimes it's hard to tell who's humoring who. Characters: Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money from this story.
Warnings: Spanking and some angst

Any Other Woman

"I swear; if you were any other woman, Nat, I'd put you over my knee and spank you." Clint mutters the words, but there's no mistaking his frustration. Natasha's seen it often enough, in a number of variations, but this piece is looking like it's going to be Clint's opus.

"That's what you're going with these days? No wonder you can't get a date," Natasha remarks, watching him unfasten his bracers. Clint slants her a sharp look. "I didn't do anything wrong," she points out again, just in case Clint feels the need to be reasonable any time soon.

"I know that," Clint snaps, tossing the piece of enhanced leather to the dresser.

"Then why are you so pissed?"

"I don't know!"

That makes two of them. Natasha's not any other woman, never has been; that's pretty obvious. She sees the way Clink looks at the waitress at the corner diner, the ridiculous way he teases her into blushes and weak knees, into bringing him a second piece of pie; the way he rushes to help Pepper with her bags and listens to her complain about Tony. Clint loves women. Natasha's seen the creased black and white Clint has of his mother, the one he keeps tucked beneath his mattress. Natasha thinks the woman has sad eyes.

So maybe it's not bad luck, then; maybe it was always going to happen, because Natasha didn't realize she'd done it until she heard the crack of the gun and the clink of the bullet off a hurtling Mjolnir, until Clint had taken out his own target and didn't look at her again; wouldn't look at her. What did he expect her to do? Ignore the tiny red circle on his back? Well, fuck that. And fuck Clint, too. Natasha watches him pace back and forth, his fingers scrubbing at the nape of his neck, and the room feels uncomfortably small. She's never asked Clint to care; never asked him to spare her, or make her one of them. So why does he have to be an idiot?

She's about to ask as much, but years of conditioning kick in, and suddenly a workable solution presents itself. "So how would this go, if I were any other woman?"

Clint looks up in surprise. "You don't want to play this game," he warns, and he's keeping his distance. As if he thinks he could hurt her. Sometimes she wishes he could.

"I think I've made it pretty clear I make my own decisions.' Natasha tells him. It's the right answer, because the muscle in his jaw tightens.

"Strip," he orders, pinning her with a hard gaze. He doesn't need to bother, though. Natasha takes a seat on the end of the bed and leans to unzip her boots, tugging each one off and tossing it aside. She glances up at Clint as she stands again, her fingers catching the zipper of her suit. He nods, his eyes following her movements as Natasha neatly unzips the supple leather, peeling it from her limbs like a second skin and kicking it in the direction of her boots. "You can leave the panties on," Clint says, as her thumbs catch the waistband of her black cotton briefs.

Natasha drops her hands to her sides and frowns. Clint doesn't seem in a particular hurry; or maybe he's just distracted. "Now what?" she wants to know.

Clint doesn't answer, just steps around her. Natasha hears him take a seat on the bed, and then calloused fingers close on Natasha's wrist, and Clint is tugging her over his lap. He takes his time fitting her snugly against him, bare skin bowed over leather and sinew, and Natasha thinks he's enjoying this. One arm locks around her waist while a hand rubs over the seat of her briefs, warm and calloused. Possessive in a way that would usually result in Natasha stepping on Clint's throat. She hangs her head, though, leaves his claim unchallenged. And always the opportunist, that's the only invitation Clint needs. His palm cracks against one cheek and then the other, and then he's spanking her in earnest, the stinging smacks igniting the skin beneath the micro-thin fabric.

Natasha waits it out, wondering how long it will take for Clint to get it out of his system. She can't remember her last real spanking, wonders if she's ever had one, or if the delivery was simply too dangerous. Clint has never minded danger. His hand falls steadily, with more prejudice than Natasha expects, and she allows herself to squirm in his grip. She'd just as soon not be here all night, anyway. Maybe they should order Chinese. Well, not now; that would be awkward, but after. Natasha frowns at Clint's boots. Unless he still isn't speaking to her. The thought is more disturbing than it should be considering how often he annoys her.

Natasha's pondering the best time for an apology when the spanking comes to a sudden stop. Clint's fingers curl around the waistband of her briefs, and then her panties are snaked down her thighs, the cool air raising goosebumps on the hot flesh. She has about four seconds to appreciate it before Clint resumes swatting her naked ass, apparently determined to make an impression.

"Don't you ever pull something like that again," he says, hoarse and humorless and entirely un-Clint-like as he gathers her more tightly against him, the flat of his hand clapping loudly against her scorched cheeks. As if he fully intends to spank her until she makes him ridiculous promises, until she's good. As if she can be. The strength of his arm, the shelf of his thighs, they're a curious cradle, uncompromising and impenetrable. Inescapable for any other woman, and Natasha stiffens when she hears a soft gasp of indrawn breath, wonders if she's finally broken him.

"Nat? Christ," Clint breathes, swinging her upright in his lap in a single, fluid motion. His light eyes dart over her face with concern, then disbelief. "Are you crying?" he asks, catching her face in his hands.

"No," Natasha tells him, but blinks, because Clint does look a little fuzzy around the edges, and he's thumbing under her eyes and petting her hair, and that's going to have to stop. In another minute or two. She feels more naked than she ever has in his bed, like an oyster unexpectedly scooped from its shell. And she's lost her briefs. She says as much.

Clint's mouth twists ruefully, but he pulls her in closer, curling his arms around her and tucking her head beneath his chin, and Natasha allows that, too. "Why, Nat?" Clint asks, sounding genuinely bewildered. "Why would you do that?"

"If you were any other man, I wouldn't have."

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