hasthehighground: In SHIELD gear, looking serious and tired (the job)
It's a day. It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the air is breezy, and Clint's sitting in his cubicle trying to complete his latest expense report.

It's a Thursday. His reading glasses are sliding off the end of his nose, and Henry is humming/muttering Carly Rae Jepsen songs in the cubicle across from him. Clint's pretty sure he hasn't realized.

Life as usual in the glamorous world of clandestine activity.

Clint stretches after finishing the fifth section (out of seven). When he goes to get an apple from the breakroom, Schmidt's sitting on the counter, watching the television with the hyperfocus of any good sniper.

He feels obscurely proud of his sort-of-protégé, then he realizes she's watching "--Golf?"

"Shh," Schmidt says, putting a spoonful of yoghurt into her mouth, freezing. Clint shushes obligingly, and leans back against the counter.

The guy putts the ball into the hole. The crowd cheers, and Schmidt swallows her yoghurt.

"Fascinating."

"Shut up."

Clint bites into his apple, intending it as a sarcastic reply, then his work cell rings. He pulls the apple right back off his teeth and puts it down; Schmidt hops off the counter and mutes the television.

"Barton," he greets.

"Has Romanoff contacted you in the recently?" Koskinen's voice is tighter than normal, urgent.

"No," he says, immediate and surprised. Schmidt tilts her head to the door, offering to leave, he shakes his head. "Should I expect her to?"

"Unsure. If she does get into contact, let us know."

"I will. Can I ask what's going on?"

"No. Try not to be stupid." Koskinen says, and there's the buzz of an empty phoneline.

So his best friend is missing, and he isn't being told why.

Life as usual in the glamorous world of clandestine activity.

Fuck.
hasthehighground: In SHIELD gear, looking serious and tired (the job)
When Clint gets to work, first, he has the paperwork for acquisition forms on his desk. Beamon's unlucky enough to still be caught in traffic, so he shifts them to her desk. She's the team leader in the office, anyway; he shouldn't get shafted just because he's the one who requested the items.

He digs in Echo's file cabinet before pulling out the relevant form (though, still, Unforeseen Incident doesn't exactly involve alien bars with good coffee) and settling in to write.

He's wearing headphones, and they're just-off mission from New Mexico (where other aliens showed up), so for the first couple hours his team ignores him as they catch up on their own paperwork.

Something enters his periphereal vision and he raises up a hand to block it before realizing it's a mug of coffee. He glances further up at the person offering it, his sniper partner Schmidt.

"Hey, thanks," he says, taking one of his ear-buds out as he accepts it. He pulls open his desk drawer to grab a protein bar. He offers it to Schmidt, but she makes a face so he takes it for himself.

Schmidt leans against the cubicle divider, taking a drink from her own mug. "Don't worry about it. What's got you antisocial?"

Clint grimaces. "Need to know. Sorry, Schmidt."

"Say no more."

--

Jan's in town, which means it's easy enough to ask for him to deliver the file to Fury when he next sees him, or Coulson. It's only for Fury to open, but Clint would be more comfortable with Coulson having his hands on it than Jan who he's only known for eight years.

Clint spent a long time staring at the maps and detailed lists he'd created before giving it to Jan, searching his brain for any extra clue, but there wasn't anything else left for him to deduce.

The sheer weirdness of what happened oozes up on him, into his brain and under his skin, once the file is handed off.

If he leaves early, and spends the rest of the afternoon in Balboa Park watching people go about their every day lives --

Well, everyone has those days.

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Clint Barton

February 2017

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