avengers: natasha explosion

Avengers Fic: Exciting Adventures in Cohabitation (Clint/Natasha)

Title: Exciting Adventures in Cohabitation
Pairing: Clint/Natasha
Rating: PG-13
Content Advisory: Implied past child abuse
Summary: Clint and Natasha try to navigate the mundane problems of living together. Like how someone can't be bothered to pick up her damn socks, and somebody else keeps leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge.

Read on AO3


Clint has had roommates before, so when he and Natasha decide to live together, he figures the experience will not be especially new. Well, okay, it's not so much that he and Natasha decide to live together -- it's more like her clothes just appear in his closet one day, and he finds books in strange languages crammed in between the paperbacks on his milk crate bookshelves. Asking her why she's suddenly decided to share his apartment doesn't even occur to him. By now, she feels as much a part of him as his bow and arrow. Why should they rent two apartments when one would obviously suffice?

Of course, living with Natasha is nothing like living with his brother. Well, she's good at sparring and terrible at cooking. That's the same. But he and his brother had kept the house scrupulously clean. Clint can't remember a time when he hadn't known how to use a washing machine, which cleaner to put on the stove, and how to scrub the bath tub and the toilet. His father had demanded it. Later, when his father had started disappearing, he and his brother hadn't dared break their cleaning routine. You never knew when Dad might come back, and neither of them wanted to imagine the consequences if he returned to a dirty house.

With the circus, cleaning had been futile. Every surface in their trailer had been filthy, and no amount of scrubbing would have changed it. Clint and his brother had always put their meager things away though, the better to protect them from the trailer's mysterious stains and odors. Then, in the army, everyone had been just as neat and clean as Clint had been raised to be. By then, cleaning wasn't an act of fear, just common sense. He likes to come home to an apartment where everything is in its place, and he knows that 'in its place' is never 'on the floor.'

Natasha, however, does not know this. Just like she apparently does not know that coffee stains need to be scrubbed off the counter every day, not just on Sundays, and dirty dishes should be rinsed before they are left in the sink -- or better yet, they should not be left in the sink at all but washed immediately.

***


"I never thought ninja assassin spies would be incapable of picking up after themselves," Clint says. Natasha has been living with him for a week, and her laundry basket is cradled against his hip. Thus far, he has added seven socks to it -- three from the bedroom, two from the bathroom, and two from the living room.

"Maybe ninja assassin spies are capable of picking up after themselves. I wouldn't know. I'm only an assassin spy with mixed martial arts skills," Natasha says. She's curled on the couch with a mug of tea in one hand and an alarmingly thick Russian novel in the other, and she's wearing his favorite gray t-shirt, which is both annoying and sexy.

"Seriously, Tasha, you don't do this on missions." Their hotel rooms had always been impeccable. "Is it that much harder to put away dirty socks here?"

"No one will kill me if they detect traces of my presence here," Natasha says. She tucks her feet more tightly against herself, which makes her look a bit like a cat, and stares at him over her tea mug. "I like not having to be perfect for you."

Clint nods silently, and Natasha buries her nose in her book as if she hadn't just given him another small piece of her heart.

He figures he can keep picking up her socks. He has weird quirks too, after all.

***


Natasha slams the empty half-gallon of milk onto the kitchen counter with an hollow thud. The cardboard crinkles a little under the force of the blow.

"Why would you put an empty container back in the refrigerator? This is the third time this week!" Natasha exclaims. She's standing in front of the open refrigerator door, and the waistband of Clint's boxers is sliding down her hip to reveal her black lace panties. She looks like she wants to kill him, which is kind of a turn-on, even if it shouldn't be.

Clint shrugs, trying not to stare at the strip of exposed lace. "I'll throw it away when I buy new milk tomorrow."

Natasha stares at him for a moment, her brow furrowing. "All right," she says finally, and puts the empty carton back in the fridge.

That night, Clint lies in bed and listens to Natasha not sleeping. He's not surprised when she gets up, pulls on the clothes she'd left by the side of the bed, and disappears. All the years they'd known each other, and Clint has never asked where she goes on these midnight errands. Knowing she'll come back is always enough.

This time, she isn't gone very long. He hears plastic bags rustling in the kitchen, the refrigerator door opening and closing. Next the bedroom door opens, and he hears the soft thud of her clothes hitting the floor.

When she crawls back in bed, she says, "The milk has back-up now."

Clint opens his eyes, parting reluctantly with the sleep that had begun tugging at the edges of his brain. "What?"

"I bought two more milk cartons. You can throw away the empty one tomorrow." She raises herself up on one elbow and looks down at Clint. "Keeping the empties in the fridge was a clever way to fool the social workers, but you can afford to buy more than one milk at a time now."

Clint smiles in the dark. Leaving empty milk cartons and cereal boxes on the shelves had been his idea, and it had kept him and his brother together more than once. He doesn't bother asking how Natasha knows; as far as he's concerned, a relationship with someone who can figure out his baggage is easier than one where he has to try and explain it.

Beside him, Natasha is waiting, staring silently up at the ceiling. Now it's Clint's turn to prop himself up on his elbow and look down at her. "What else do you want to tell me?"

"I liberated some things from a Costco truck for you. We have extras of everything now."

***


In the morning, Natasha holds up a package of chicken-flavored ramen and asks, "Was this romantic gesture correct?" She has that blank look on her face that Clint hates, the one where she looks like a computer waiting to be programmed.

"Depends," he says. "You didn't kill the driver did you?"

Natasha crosses her arms over her chest and gives him a look that says murdering Costco truck drivers is beneath her skills. "Answer the question, Clint. I don't know how relationships work."

Clint picks his way carefully between the crates of ramen and suspiciously healthy-looking cereal so he can look straight into Nat's eyes.

"Fuck, you think I know how these things work, Nat?" He's never had a relationship that lasted more than a few weeks before, unless it was based on shared malfeasance and occasional indulgence in illicit substances. "Look, if we're going to steal our groceries, let's steal them from the SHIELD storage room together, okay? And maybe don't take my last pair of clean boxers so often."

Natasha nods slowly. "Your boxers are safe, but I'm still leaving socks on the floor."

"Deal," Clint says.

They eat ramen and drink vodka for lunch and spend the afternoon reading thick books on the couch together, and Clint knows that things are going to work out well between them.
Tags: