Bromance and Romance and Jobly Things

I’m attempting to write a Clint/Natasha story that’s supposed to be a romance. I say attempting because as much as I adore reading romance between them, I seem to have a hard time writing them as anything but...heterosexual life mates. It’s like I have the opposite problem than the one I have with Chuck and Sarah, where every single one of their conversations threatens to turn adorable and fluffy. Clint and Natasha skew more toward the understated and double-talky narrative.

Or it’s possible that Downton Abbey spewing feelings everywhere is killing my groove.

But yes, apparently I have talked myself into writing a Clintasha Bromance. Halfway through, I watched the Iron Man 3 trailer and it dumped half my plot dead in the water, too. So that was a bucket of fun.

In other news, a project that I’ve been stressing out about has been given a “Holy crap! That’s awesome!” rating, so…yeah, I’m no judge of my own abilities anymore. I’ve been beating myself to hell and back, convinced I was screwing up all over the place and meanwhile my boss is like, “This is amazing.”

Peter facepalming

Here’s a sneak preview of the Clintasha story I’m writing:

The truck was quiet, but that wasn’t unusual for post-mission. Natasha had discovered in her months with SHIELD that though agents could be boisterous and rowdy, post-mission was usually reserved for quiet reflection or catching up on sleep. If the mission hadn’t gone well, there might be drinking, fighting, anything to let off steam. But a mission with no major hiccups generally meant that the trip back to base was almost sober. Once they were welcomed back into the ranks of their comrades, that would change, but at least the trip back was quiet.

Across from her, Agent Sanderson dozed, his head bobbing whenever the truck met a dip in the road. A brilliant starburst was already forming around his left eye. He’d be razzed about that for weeks when they got back to headquarters, of course. Agent Cho played Angry Birds on her phone, while Agent Miller watched in a sort of daze that told Natasha the man’s mind was somewhere else entirely. Probably with his wife, she thought, who was about six weeks from giving birth.

There was a betting pool on base. Hawkeye had ragged on her so much that she’d joined in. If Miller’s kid was a little girl born five days early, she wouldn’t have to patrol for months.

Natasha hoped it was. Patrols didn’t bother her, but it was nice to get uninterrupted sleep.

Speaking of Barton, he was at the end of her bench, right next to the back doors. Best vantage point to watch all of them, she thought, and glanced across Agent Awalli to get a better look at him. Barton was bent forward, head down. On his lap was an open notebook, one of those cheap ones that went for ten cents at the department store whenever they were having their back to school sales.

Natasha’s eyebrows rose. She climbed to her feet—making Awalli and Miller look up—and used the bar bolted to the ceiling to navigate her way back to Barton.

He glanced at her when she sat. “Bored?”

“No. What are you writing?”

Barton’s smile was tired; he’d been up in the sniper’s nest for three days watching a bunch of wannabe terrorists try to blow themselves up. “Just some notes.”

“On the mission?”

“Sure,” Barton said, but she got the feeling it was a lie.

She didn’t press, nor did she try and get a peek at the pages. She considered it progress. Barton might have called her paranoid, but she’d only been at SHIELD for a year, and she still couldn’t quite believe this was her life. “Well,” she said, kicking back in the uncomfortable seat, “if I’m in your notes, don’t write anything bad about me.”

“I wouldn’t,” Barton said.

“Good. I don’t want to have to kick your ass. I’m going to take a nap.”

“Sweet dreams.”

At another point, she might have feigned sleep in order to get a better look at the notebook, as she was curious. But Barton wasn’t the only one that was tired and the curiosity had been just an excuse to come to the back of the truck. She wondered if he’d put it together.

He probably had. That should have bothered her, that he knew her so well, but since it was Barton, and since he was the only one she trusted enough to watch her back, she leaned her head back and fell asleep.

Also, I heard three different radio deejays crying into their microphones this morning. St. Louis is officially depressed. If you hear somebody shouting, “DAMN YOU PUJOLS,” you can bet it’s a St. Louisian. This is, after all, a drinking town with a baseball problem.

Nanowrimo in a week. Egads, help us all.


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