November 04, 2018:

Natasha and Clint discuss each other while at the experimental weapons testing range.

SHIELD Weapons Testing Range


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Natasha is in the shooting range and beside her on the table is a whole host of weaponry. From sniper rifles to shotguns, from pistols to even some kind of weird laser crossbow thing… She's testing all of them and giving the SHIELD techs her recommendations on how each one of the weapons performs on the simulated 'people' that are down range. Holographic technology that react like real human targets when fired upon.

Right now, Natasha is holding up a gun that is probably longer than she is tall and it has a massive barrel at the end of its long housing. She has a pair of goggles on and a set of ear covers that also have comm units in them for others in the range to talk to one another while they practice or test.

When Natasha shoots the rifle, it has a large amount of kick-back and it decimates the targets down range… a holographic tank and jeep that were side by side-by-side one another.

« Perfect execution once again, Agent Romanoff. » The technician's response to her efforts with one of the weapons comes across the speakers with a faint hiss and crackle that carries with it the sound of keyboard keys being pressed. « Take five and we'll recalibrate for the sabot rounds. »
The test range is still loud and ear protection is important, though it's also important for the techs and the testers to be able to hear each other and communicate, so the ear guards have their own sound feed which switches off when an operative needs to be able to focus on what they're working on. So either she'll hear the familiar voice or she'll see on the data display the 'closed captioning' for the person speaking out of turn.
"See, with something like that it's so impersonal. That's what we've lost in this day and age. The sincerity of the personal touch through weaponry." Doesn't take long to figure out where it's coming from, just inside the door to the range with arms folded over his chest is Hawkeye.

Natasha is standing beside the table of weapons and setting the hefty rifle down lengthwise beneath the others. She's doing some routine adjustments on it while the tech is talking. « I'm fine » She tells the tech with regard to taking a break, but she has been at this for awhile… she's used to the SHIELD regulars trying to enforce the cliche guidelines on her, not understanding her endurance levels, or the fact she doesn't care about the modern world and its dainty flower rules.

Clint's words get Natasha to look up and over toward him. She stares at him from behind those yellow tented shooting glasses she has on and she just smirks. "When I kill people its not personal. Just business." She says with a deadpan stare. "Schwarzenegger taught me that." She adds, also without emotion… which makes it seem like it wasn't even a joke.

"Come here, shoot one of these things. It'll change your life forever." She sasys THAT with a bit of clear humor laced across the words as her voice dropped in pitch to make it a bit more sultry sounding.

« Roger that, recalibrating for sabot. Three minutes out. » The tone from the technician is workman like, unemotional and precise, much like her. But it still gives some time for the two operatives to speak while matters get taken care of.
"Better than the Barret light fifty?" Hawkeye eyes her sidelong as he pushes off the wall and starts that leisurely saunter over towards the weaponry, the table, and the woman. He looks over the options present and then steps up to the firing platform which she was using. He'll accept the weapon from her and gauges the heft, checks the chamber with a faint click and then ejects the magazine and taps it against his thigh. He reloads and clicks another round in place before he takes up stance and brings the weapon in line.
"Pretty nice. Bit big for my tastes." He squints down the line of the rifle and brings his trigger finger off the guard and ready. But he doesn't fire.
"You know, I used an M107A1 back before we met." He steps back from the platform and leaves it there for her. "But when you showed up I figured only way I'd ever get noticed is if I went all crazy and used a bow."

These last words spoken by Hawkeye get a genuine smile to show up on Natasha lips, of course its just an upturn of her lips and she doesn't even show any teeth… because she's Russian, but still its a lot of emotion for her!

"I don't believe for an instant that thats why you did it." She tells him in response. "You did it for the ladies who were obsessed with Legolas." Yeah, she's seen the Lord of the Rings movies AND read the books. Its the only fiction novels she has ever read in fact, and she did it to get in closer with a… well he was a nerd, and she had to get in closer with him to get some security clearance into a lab and well… it was when those movies were out in theaters. Ask a nerd on a date and want him to love you? Know what he likes most!

Natasha finishes what she's doing with the rifle and she looks back to Clint then. "You know, I'm going to regret telling you this." She starts then. "But one of the primary reasons I hassle you about having at least a handgun on you is because I don't want you getting caught without a reliable sidearm to get you out of any sticky situations." Did Natasha just say she worries about him?!

"Ahh, Nat." Clint holds up a hand, "You don't have to worry about me." He says and for a moment it looks like he's about to add a bit more, something kind chased by a half-smile or a smirk. But then the speaker crackles back to life and speaks right over whatever he might have been about to say or was saying.
« Agent Romanoff, range is set. Agent Barton, you have somewhere to be? » And perhaps, for the first time that she's been on the test range, since she's been working at SHIELD and working with this particular technician that she might well have never known his name let alone heard any emotion in his voice… there might be a hint of jealousy there.
But Clint, he steps back and looks up at the speaker, which might seem kind of silly though chances are there's a hidden camera in the general vicinity there. "Nope. But thanks for your concern, fella."

Natasha is now just grinning, she was well aware of that Tech and his attention toward her. Generally when a member of SHIELD asks her out she just tells them that she's 90 years old and they usually back off there-after. The realization that she's older than their grandma is a bit of a no-fly-zone for most guys, it seems like. Some? Aren't so restrictive on themselves when it comes to the women they'll go after.

Natasha prepares that giant rifle again with another shot and she hoists it up. As she walks over to the firing position once more she looks over at Clint, her green eyes tinted by the yellow plastic of the eyewear over her face. "You're the most competitent Agent we have." She tells him as she looks down the rifle, aiming down the sights. "Other than myself." She mutters as she preps and then FIRES!

The gun repeats what it'd previuusly done, only this time it blows the front of a simulated building's first too floors off, crumbling them down along with some interior support walls. Natasha lowers the weapon and watches/surveys the damage… she actually seems displeased by that result.

Still, she turns around and walks back to the table. "I need you to be 'around' and 'not dead' for missions." Cold killer, thats what her motivation is.

"Ms. Romanoff," Clint's tone of voice still has that wryness to it, "Sometimes I wonder if you're impressed every time I show up to work with my shoes tied." His voice catches a hint of at twang to it, just a slight hint of that accent that he's trained himself out of after the years. But then he leans against the table and crosses his arms over his chest, meeting her gaze as she saunters back to set the weapon at rest. "You know I have managed to keep myself alive this mmm-mmm years," Of course he doesn't mention his age for various reasons.
"What's really the matter?" He asks as he shifts his weight to the other foot and looks at her curiously. "Something got you in a mood?"
But before she can answer the technician's voice comes back across the feed. « That's the data we needed, thank you Agent Romanoff. We'll collate and send you the results. » And after he says that the holographic test grid and some of the targeting systems disengage as the various equipment shuts down, the long line of lights down the range shutting off with loud /chunk chunk chunk/ sounds of the mechanisms disengaging. Until it leaves them there just at that illuminated prep area.

Of course she hears Clint's words before the tech's but she replies to the tech firstly. « That round should've gone through that whole building, Warez. » She reminds the tech but otherwise leaves it at that. It was enough to get her point across to the man she's worked with down here for awhile, the point that she was displeased. But still! While she strips the weapon down and lets it sit beside its case on the table now she looks back at Clint.

"What do you want me to say?" She asks him. "You're a friend." She tells him then, deadpan stare through those yellow tinted glasses. "You know I don't have many of those. Most of the people around here annoy me to the brink of insanity requiring heavy doses of medication." She pauses shortly and looks back down to the weapons on the table, she'd gone through all of them today. "You just push me to pop a few Aspirin. There's a big message there." She says, all in good humor of course.

"That message being I need ta up my game?" He asks as he shifts his leaning to the other side of the table, giving Natasha free enough room to finish the task of the breakdown and storage. His arms stay over his chest, however even as he shoots a look up at the speaker as if wondering if someone's going to eavesdrop on this. But then his eyebrows lift slightly as the thought slips through his mind, since really it's SHIELD… someone is always eavesdropping.
"But I get you, Nat." He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck thoughtfully, and it might surprise her to see he's paying her concerns more than lip service and more than something to make light of. Instead he says, "I don't run into fights naked. And I have options for when things go south, don't worry, Natasha." His lip twists slightly, something that would be seen if he was trying to goad a smile out of someone but with her he knows better than to go fishing for anything beyond that slight smirk.
"When we spar I don't show you everything I got. A fella has to have some secrets to himself."

Instantly she's thinking of that time she ran into a fight naked, thats a story she's definitely going to keep to herself—but it dose cause her to clear her throat as she starting to put the heavy rifle away into its case in pieces again. "Well." Natasha says in that monotone voice she's so readily capable of. "We certainly do have to keep our secrets." Piece after piece are slipped back into the form-fitted-foam-inserts in the case. "You're not the only one with them." She looks up at him for a second and smirks just a little.

She glances toward the tech area and then back at Clint. "Warez there has secrets too. Like how much he loathes you standing around me putting the moves on me. He says your Drakar Noir cologne isn't going to win me over." She shows him another grin, though this one is restrained with the corners of her mouth showing tightened muscles.

The heavy rifle box is closed shut and snapped locked, she slides it off the table and then crouches to put it into a shelf beneath it, the table itself has wheels and will get pushed away once she's entirely done.

Ain't that the way? He rubs the back of his neck and scowls a little when she brings up the engineer and his attentions, and to be fair Clint doesn't know the first thing about the fellow since really he does tend to pay more attention to the field personnel than support. A failing, assuredly, but not one he's tried to rectify yet.
A snort comes from Clint as he shifts his attention upwards towards where the control room is behind a few layers of reinforced concrete and steel. He lifts a hand to rub at the line of his jaw then asks her sidelong without looking at her. "Did you tell him we're not involved?" But then his brow knits as he considers the possibilities of the situation, "Or did you tell him we were secretly engaged like that time in Bangladesh?"
When he looks back at her his smile shifts crookedly and his brow furrows. "Or want me ta have a talk with him? Is it like…" A pause to signify seriousness, "A thing?"

Natasha just shakes her head as she stands back up and starts putting the other weapons back into their drawers on the roller-table. "I'm just making it all up." She tells him then. "I don't know why he said what he said a minute ago. I was just playing off of it." The hard part about Natasha is that she's such a professional liar its nearly impossible to know what is truth and what is made up to get the reaction she's currently after. So much so that she… herself… has trouble knowing what are truths and what are lies, sometimes anyway.

"I'll admit that I have told some people we were involved in the past, just to get them to bug off. But it was some time ago. Surely that rumor is dead by now." There are others down the range still firing their own weapons off, so there's still plenty of noise around them. "But ultimately we both know that you'd be eaten alive by my high standards and unending expectations of greatness always and forever." She shakes her head whilst doing her cleaning work.

A crinkle touches the bridge of his nose as he steps after her while she works on securing the gear and he just takes up a place nearby to keep the conversation at the least moderately between them, what with him facing away from the known observation cameras and his tone of voice inflected mainly for her and her alone.
"Who did you tell? Was that why that one gal in accounting stood me up that one time? You scared her off?" But his half-smile is there even if it's cushioned with a hint of sharpness since she always enjoys playing with him with those half-truths and fibs.
It's the last thing she says that causes him to make a dismissive sound, however. Just a simple, 'pfft' of dismissal that's given idly even as he leans against the wall now. "First off. As if. Secondly, it's hard for me to imagine you in an actual relationship. But at least that's an unknown. Me. I know I'm terrible in relationships." Since, really, he doesn't have the best history.
He looks away then, eyes distancing as if he didn't really care though on some level he is curious. But he changes the subject before he allows his thoughts to travel down that road too far. "The guy probably does have a crush on you though." He gestures upwards towards the control room.

Natasha just smirks at the part about the woman who shut him down. "No, I've never told any women that we're in a relationship. Just the men who think they're clever and come at me with lines like 'My favorite Bond movie is From Russia with Love. Whats yours?' to which I'd reply 'Goldfinger' and flip them off. Types like that." She glances back at him with a slight smirk while he leans against the nearby wall section. "I don't fault someone for having a crush." She then adds after she glances toward where the Techs are in their lab behind the range.

"We're all on this planet for a limited amount of time. People want to have fun and find meaning in the moment. Most people think that'll come from companionship." She says all of this with that same cold heartedness that is common to her heritage, and if she weren't speaking with a Non-regional American Accent then she'd sound like a rather cliche Russian all around.

"I was married once." She says then. "So I've been in a relationship before, an honest one." Though after she claims it was honest she snaps a magazine out of a handgun and then slips them both away. "As honest as it was allowed to be, at least." And that part is muttered.

"Yeah?" Clint asks now and she can tell she has him, or rather has his curiousity. Gone for now is the bravado, that casual give and take as he makes light and verbally fences with her. Instead he seems intrigued at what might be something truthful being given to him by the Black Widow. Since she put him on guard about the truth he's been watching her, gauging her and trying to catch the micro tremors of the facial features that might give some hint to her sincerity. But she's such an accomplished liar it might be an exercise in futility.
But that doesn't stop him from wondering, for that curiousity to make itself evident as he listens to her words and once that magazine is slapped home he gives a nod in commiseration. "So we have that in common at least." Since she well knows Bobbi, and what happened with him and her. To be fair she did a good job of not coming down on either side during the whole debacle.
Yet she could tell that despite their differences they did love each other. It's a path he doesn't like walking down in his memories so he escapes through humor as he says. "Was this back during Napoleon's invasion, or the Mongols?"

Natasha had stayed a purposefully neutral third party when Clint and Bobbi separated, she was and is friends with both of them and wanted no part of being treated like she was on one's side more than the other's.

"Nice." Nat says with a smirk at his last words. "It was closer to the early Bronze Age, if you have to know." She'll go along with that. She's old, she knows it. She picks up a shotgun though… glances at him as she unloads the few shells she hadn't used inside its central housing and then starts to put it away into its own drawer as well. Her eyes drop back down to it as she pus it away and she responds in a quiet tone. "No, it was early in my training days. A pilot. He knew what I was trained to become, but it didn't get in the way of… having good times together." She pauses then and closes the drawer with her knees while her hands reach out for two more pistols.

"But, as one's country does, they killed him and covered it up as American saboteurs." She glances back to Clint then. "It was to make me 'forever sworn in loyalty to my country'." And this just makes her softly smirk as she dismantles the two handguns at the same time.

Slouching just enough so he can cross his legs at the ankles, Clint listens to her as she speaks and he gives a slow and steady nod. Despite his talent as a spy, Natasha likely has him down and pegged as an individual. Knows him well enough to read the different faces he wears. There's the jovial play-acted buffoon that he uses to make people underestimate him. There's the severe professional that has him focused and intent when they're on the job. There's even the cocksure arrogant top gun operative who projects such an aura of confidence that it's infectious. But people rarely get to see him like this.
For when he looks down at the ends of his boots as she finishes speaking, his brow is furrowed and there's a subtle hint of serenity to him as he wears that rare look to him of distant contemplation. As he empathizes with the moments of her past and what she's mentioned, and as he adds these thoughts into the collection of the thoughts he's had about her in the past.
"Was that what brought you to say yes when I tried to bring you in out of the cold?"

"It certainly helped." Natasha says back to him with a faint and reserved smile on her unpainted lips. "Honestly their plan would've worked if I hadn't figured it out via some assistance from… friends on the inside. But yes, it all fell apart around them and… well, here I am." There's probably a LOT more to that story that she's not telling, and likely a healthy amount of bodies left in her wake after she found out the truth too.

Either way, the weapons on the table are all put away and Natasha walks over to the side of it to push it back out of the stall and to then stand motionless for a second with her hands on its push rail and her eyes on Clint. "You thought I just came to America for the hotdog vendors, didn't you?" She asks him then, smirking in that way she does. "That was part of it too, okay? Stop interrogating me." And with a huff she starts to push the cart'o'guns toward the tech areas laboratory glass doorway to give the guns back to the science nerds.

A snort is heard some small distance behind her and them she'll hear the faint tap of his footsteps behind her, following along. She likely catches his reflection in the glass door leading to the laboratory, his hands in the pockets of his jacket as he still has that somewhat contemplative look to him. It's as they're walking down the hallway, moving down the way with that steady gait. He's quiet, silent for the most part. It's only when they make the turn around the corner that she'll feel his hand upon her elbow just for a moment.
Perhaps just enough of a touch to get her to pause the cart and look at him as he holds up a fingertip as if to halt her and then he touches to the wall nearby one of those anti-surveillance and white noise generators from this very tech division's experimental section. And then, for the small window of a handful of minutes that device will provide, they at least have words to share only with each other.
"I thought you were going to kill me." He says as he looks at her, eyes level on her. "After the fight, and I'd run out of options. You had that knife at my throat. It was a gamble. Entirely. Something I had read in the briefs, tensions in the transmissions between section heads of the KGB. I took the shot."
His lip curls slightly there, "And I never miss after all." But after that slight hint at bravado he asks her, directly for the first time. "Why didn't you kill me? Why did you make the decision then?"

Natasha was about to reach out to touch the lock mechanism on the door to open the lab up when she felt his hand touch her elbow and then pause her. She turns around then to look at him, one hand still on the cart's push rail, the other hanging at her side now. She stares at him then, still wearing those yellow tinted glasses. As he asks the question she shows no emotion, just a blank 'judging' stare.

There's a time of silence after he asks her that, like the redheaded Russian is considering her responses and how best to word it for the man who sincerely wanted the answer, she could see that in his own stare.

"I like how Drakar Noir smells." She finally says then and turns back to press the signal button on the lab door. It hisses and opens up then and she starts to push the cart inside to give the gunz back to Warez who's walking over to meet her, and glaring at Clint while doing so!

As the door closes behind her she'll hear him call out after in a mildly petulant tone, "But I don't even wear Drakkar Noir!" And then the glass slides shut.

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