It’s been a year since they last met. A year since she had slipped out from under the covers while it was still dark outside, thinking that he was asleep, put on her clothes, grabbed her things and walked out of his life. A year since he had listened to her moving around his room that chilly morning, pretending to be asleep and unaware that this was it: the end of them.
He had known it from the moment she had showed up at his room the night before and kissed him without a word. There had been vodka in her breath. She rarely drank. He could guess why she had: to give herself courage. He didn’t confront her; he accepted it. It had all been too good to be true anyway. A gorgeous woman, a kickass partner; someone who could take his temper and throw it back at him without batting a dainty eyelash.
She could tell that he hadn’t been completely asleep. Clint snored, albeit lightly and intermittently, and the contentment had been missing from his regular deep breaths. She waited, waited for him to get up and stop her. To take her hand and whisper for her to stay. Not beg, no. She wouldn’t want him to beg. He was too cocky to do it anyway. But he hadn’t. He hadn’t stopped her from leaving him. And just before she had left, she had taken one last look at him, so sorely tempted to drop everything and crawl back into bed, into the warm refuge of love. But she couldn’t and she shouldn’t. She had come too far. If she took another step, she would put him in danger.
In danger of herself.
"How are you?" he asked.
She tried to remain calm. “Good. And you?”
Silence hung over their heads for a few seconds before she snapped out of her reverie and said, “Fury’s expecting me in his office.”
He nodded, unnerving her with his piercing, steady gaze. “I’m needed at the armoury.” He walked past her.
She turned around. “It’s good to see you again,” she said, before she could stop herself.
He paused, looked to the side, as if he heard something, but he ignored it and continued walking.