Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Characters: Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton
Summary: Dance is her secret.
Length: 500 words
Notes Just a little ficlet. Because aurora_0811 asked me to post it.
Dance is her secret.
More than a false memory she’s locked away.
In the middle of the night, when everyone else sleeps, her bare feet grace the polished floor.
Plie. Releve. Arabesque.
Soutenu. Jete. Pas de bourree.
To the quiet strains of piano keys, violin strings, the airy whistle of a flute.
Complete command of every tendon, ligament, muscle, moving in fluid perfection.
It is a moment alone with her body, so she can claim it, own it.
There’s rhythm in her fight.
The beat of blow meeting block is a steady drum that moves them on and on.
It’s taken years to learn this routine, and if the crowd of onlookers in the gym is any indication, the duet is quite impressive.
Every kick, every jab, every strike.
Where the note will land is a mystery, but there is always the rhythm.
Every dodge, every roll.
If he calls it a dance, Clint’ll be flat on his back with a busted spine in half a second. So, he doesn’t. He just breathes in time to the music of the motion.
There is a spotlight on her that she does not see.
Receiving orders before the mission, she stands tall and fixed and firm. But not still. There is no stillness, only the moment before.
The coil before the attack, the pose before the dance.
Natasha has a dancer’s legs--lean and strong.
If she catches him staring, she doesn’t let him know.
There is a spotlight she shines on herself.
With the polish of the perfect step, a simple tilt of the head, she commands the gaze of her audience.
It’s a sleight of hand, or sleight of body, perhaps. When she knows where the enemy is looking, she knows what they’re not looking at.
When she strikes, they’ll never see it coming. All they’ll see is a graceful costume, and that’s all she needs them to see.
At times, she defies gravity. She flies.
She is untethered, pure force in battle.
An angel of destruction.
And in the end, with blood and sweat mingled on her skin, the mission is done and her performance is complete.
She steps off the stage of the battlefield, retreats to the wings where no one watches but never ceases to be the dancer.
He can hear, sometimes, the strains of music coming from her sanctuary. When he does, he takes out his hearing aid, so he won’t see her in his mind’s eye. So she can have her privacy.
Clint has only walked in on her once. When he thinks about the delicate frame of her arms, the smooth curve of her back, there’s a sting of shame. He’s seen her body before, bare skin, but nothing as naked and raw and open as that.
The moment wasn’t meant for his eyes; it was for her alone.
If she wants to let him in, to let him see, someday, she’ll let him.
If she wants, she’ll ask him for a dance.