"Girlfriend?" the woman on Clint's right asked, nodding at his cellphone as he tucked it into his pocket.
He turned towards her curiously and had to make an effort not to react when he saw her full on. He was acquainted with more than his fair share of jaw-droppingly gorgeous women, but this bargoer still stood out as extraordinary: light eyes that contrasted with a mass of long black curls; a full, laughing mouth; creamy skin and perfectly proportioned features.
"Uh, partner," he answered her after too long a pause.
"Business or romantic?" she asked, then shook her head. "Actually, I retract the question. I don't really care." She leaned a little closer in a way that made it obvious that her disinterest in the answer wasn't due to a disinterest in him. "Buy me a drink?" she asked, a wry twist to her beautiful lips that said she knew it was a cliched invitation, but what did cliches really matter when the invitation was being issued by someone who looked like her?
"Sure," Clint said, .txte that was an easy stall while he was trying to decide whether or not he actually was going to go through with this. He waved the bartender over. "Another vodka for--"
"Morana," she said. "And you're very observant."
"I think it's more that you're very noticeable," he said evasively. She'd stand out in a crowd of supermodels, but even before he'd seen her face, he'd been keeping tabs on her as a potential threat. "I'm Clint."
She offered him a cool, slim hand to shake, then picked up her vodka and downed it in several smooth swallows, head tipped back as though to accentuate the long line of her throat. ("As though," Clint repeated to himself and shook his head inwardly at his momentary lapse of judgment. Of course she'd done it on purpose. That didn't make it any less effective.)
She stood up suddenly, giving Clint a close-up of her full breasts before he raised his eyes quickly to her face. Had she changed her mind about him, after all, and rendered his earlier indecision pointless?
"Coming?" she asked.
Clint sat still for an almost offensively long time, honestly not sure what answer he wanted to give, until he felt the internal 'click' that meant he'd come to a decision without conscious realization of whatever thought processes it had taken to get him there. He stood and smiled up at her, four.txthes taller than he was, though a good portion of that might have been due to her shoes. "Lead the way."
It had been a while .txte Clint had had sex with someone he didn't know inside and out. He didn't want to think about Natasha right now, though, or even about the handful of other people he'd slept with .txte he'd joined SHIELD and created a new life for himself. Morana was even more beautiful naked and in the bright light of the overhead lamp than she had been in the dim bar downstairs, and he focused on that and on the feel of her soft skin and hair and on her high, breathy moans when he touched her just right.
She was generous in reciprocating, too, which somehow he hadn't been expecting. But she spent a long time pressing warm kisses against his mouth and skin and stroking him everywhere she could reach. When she sucked him off, her hair a tangled, gorgeous mess in his careful hands and her mouth shiny and wet around his dick, he had to alternate between staring at the sight she made and clenching his eyes tightly to keep from coming too soon.
By the time he finally stopped holding himself back and came in a thundering rush of pleasure, she was no longer oversensitive from her first orgasm, and he could taste and touch her again and, when they woke together in the middle of the night, yet again.
Of course, she was gone when he finally woke up for good in the grey pre-dawn. He allowed himself five minutes to close his eyes and remember the whole wonderful, confusing, faintly terrifying night, then shoved it into the recesses of his memory and forced himself out of bed and into a quick, hot shower. It was time to go home.
Clint strode down the hallways of SHIELD's New York headquarters with Natasha keeping pace at his side. There had been more than one snag in their most recent assignment, and now they were almost late for a meeting of the Avengers plus Loki: the third one so far this year. Clint almost couldn't believe that Fury kept scheduling the things every time Loki asked, given how pissed off they tended to make him, but Loki's intelligence hadn't failed them yet, even if it was delivered in the most obnoxious way possible.
He slapped his hand on the scanner that was positioned outside the conference room door more as a reminder to not disturb the room's proceedings unnecessarily than as a security measure. Any hostile who managed to get this far into the facility wasn't going to be slowed down by something as simple as a handprint scanner.
The door slid open, and Clint scanned the group of people inside automatically, freezing when his eyes caught on an unexpected figure.
"Welcome, Clint and Natasha. As you can see, my brother has chosen to wear female form today," Thor greeted them. Based on the muted reaction in the room, he'd obviously already explained this to the assembled Avengers and SHIELD agents, who#included a leering Tony, a fascinated Bruce, a politely disinterested Steve, a wary Maria Hill, and a wearily exasperated Fury.
Thor himself looked faintly anxious, but not actually distressed: rather like someone who'd just been told a joke he didn't understand.
Clint nodded, his face as blank as he could make it, and saw Natasha do the same out of the corner of his eye.
Morana--or did she only use that name when seducing former enemies and current reluctant allies?--smiled sharp enough to cut glass as they took their seats around the large, circular table.
"So, what's this meeting about, sir?" Clint asked, turning his gaze towards Fury.
"The Executioner," Fury said grimly.
"He's found new allies," Loki/Morana said in a tone so light that it felt like an insult, "in some old enemies of both Asgard and Earth. He leads a troll army now, and I do fear that if the Avengers don't do something, they may come back to Earth and start eating you again."
"Sounds like.txtentive," Tony said brightly. "Cannibalism's a hard limit of mine. Though I guess it doesn't really count as cannibalism if the people eating you aren't actually people. Still, rude to do without express permission, which I'm guessing they don't bother with."
"They do not," Thor said in a very serious tone, and Loki's smile widened.
She alternately mocked and flirted with the Avengers throughout the remainder of the meeting, even more outrageously than she did as a man; at least male-Loki didn't flirt with Thor. Or with Fury. Female-Loki did both.
She also gave them what seemed an encyclopedia's worth of knowledge on troll physiology, culture, weaponry, and tactics (supplemented by Thor's frequent interjections, particularly on the topic of weaponry). Clint was used to this by now and didn't bother taking notes. On Fury's standing orders, all meetings with Loki were recorded. Each of the Avengers would receive a file containing the pertinent information within a matter of hours. Clint's job right now was to pay attention and ask questions as necessary.
Almost four hours later, Fury adjourned the meeting with a final glare at Loki and left, followed by Hill and, continuing an hour's long argument on how to best prepare for a troll invasion, Tony, Bruce, and Steve.
Clint glanced at Natasha and she nodded; they rose together and followed the group out the door, leaving Loki and Thor in the conference room.
"You should go with them," Clint heard Loki say as they were walking through the doorway. "I'll find my own way home."
"Loki," Thor began, his voice troubled, but the door slid shut before Clint could hear the rest.
"My room?" Natasha asked as a matter of formality.
"Yeah," Clint said.
Neither of them spent as much time at SHIELD headquarters as they once had, but Natasha still checked for bugs as often and thoroughly as she had when it had been her primary residence. It was a safe place, relatively speaking.
They'd barely settled themselves when the doorbell chimed and Natasha answered it to find Loki, now male again, on the other side.
He smiled. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything," he said.
"Not at all," Natasha said very politely. "We were waiting for you."
Loki didn't stop smiling, but there was that crinkle around his eyes suddenly that Clint had noticed whenever one of Loki's plans started to go awry. Natasha stepped aside to let him in, then closed and locked the door.
"How gracious of you," Loki said. "Though I don't flatter myself that I'm the one you really wanted to see." A golden shimmer enveloped him, and when it dissipated he was a woman again. "After all, it takes something...special to make the charming assassin duo betray each other. I'm curious, Barton, as to which makes you angrier: that I bedded you, that I bedded her, or that I bedded her and you weren't allowed to watch?"
"Uh. I was always pretty bad at multiple choice questions," Clint said. "Am I allowed to pick 'none of the above'?"
The half-furious, half-bewildered expression that spread across Loki's face was more than a bit satisfying, but Clint didn't let himself laugh at it. Beating Loki at his game was only a small part of what he had wanted--what they had wanted--and he wasn't about to cheat himself out of the rest now.
"You're not that different from the Loki we know," Natasha said. "You couldn't really miss it."
"I would have," Clint said, offering up the scrap of honesty like a gift. "Except that Nat warned me what was up beforehand."
"And you still chose..." Loki said, looking no less certain of herself.
"We did," Natasha confirmed. "Sorry your plan to humiliate us and destroy our relationship didn't work."
Natasha continued, "And now it's your turn to make a choice. If you wanted to be with us again, then you could: girl you, guy you, both; it doesn't matter. It's up to you."
"But you don't trust me," Loki said, as though delivering an irrefutable argument.
Natasha shrugged. "If I only slept with people I trusted, I'd pretty much be stuck sleeping with him for the rest of my life." She jerked a thumb at Clint to indicate who the 'him' was.
"Ditto, only in reverse," Clint said.
"Which would obviously be a great hardship," Loki said, her tone ironic but her face thoughtful.
Natasha shrugged again.
The golden light shimmered over Loki again and left her a man. He arched an eyebrow at Clint, who just grinned at him. Loki smiled back,` wickedly self-confident once more. "All right," he said. "It sounds like fun."