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The Office AU

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INT. NATASHA’S APARTMENT - MORNING

Natasha is getting ready for work. She has a laptop open with Nick Fury on a video call.

NATASHA: Sometimes I’m pretty sure you’re playing a sick joke on me. Have you been to Scranton? I went bowling last night with Steve and Sharon--bowling, Nick. I’m pretty sure Steve only invited me because he didn’t want to be alone with Sharon. If he would just break up with her. Ugh. He tried to set me up with some guy from his apartment building, Brock something, but the guy was a total meathead. I beat him by 50 points, and I was trying to lose.

FURY: (pinches the bridge of his nose) Update, Romanoff.

NATASHA: Well, I’m pretty sure Steve and Tony are about two seconds away from fucking on Tony’s desk. At least, until Sharon waltzes in from the warehouse, and Tony gets this sad puppy look on his face. I think Tony only got back together with Pepper because he clearly can’t see that Steve wants to break up with Sharon. Steve’s just so polite about it and doesn’t have the balls. It’s infuriating.

FURY: Your assignment, Natasha.

NATASHA: Yeah, yeah. I contacted the regional manager at A.I.M. Paper. They didn’t say too much, but they pretty much offered to stay off our turf if we were willing to compete with Department X Suppliers for the hospital deal. They didn’t agree to be on film, though. I’m not sure this documentary was the best cover.

FURY: Consent forms mean we don’t need warrants, Romanoff.

NATASHA: But that means we have to gain their trust. I’m going to be in Scranton for nine years at this rate.

FURY: How is the rest of Strike Team Delta holding up?

NATASHA: They still think we don’t know they’ve been together since Budapest.

FURY: (shakes his head slowly before rolling his eye at Natasha) Not what I was asking, Romanoff.


INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Steve is sitting at the front desk. Tony is standing beside him, looking down at his sketchbook. While Tony is focused on the drawings, Steve looks up shyly at Tony.

TONY: These are really good, Steve.

STEVE: Oh, they’re nothing.

TONY: Hey, don’t sell yourself short. You’re talented. I was dragged to art museums and gallery openings with my mom all the time when I was a kid, so I know what I’m talking about. I can help you set up an Etsy site after your art show. If you want.

STEVE: It’s not my art show. It’s just some people from my painting class--

The phone rings, and Steve sighs heavily before picking it up.

STEVE: (into the phone) S.H.I.E.L.D. Paper, how can I help you?

Tony lingers over the drawings for a few more moments. When it becomes clear that Steve is taking the call seriously, he starts to trudge over to his desk. He nearly gets bowled over by Clint, who comes stalking into the office like a man on a mission.

CLINT: Top of the morning to ye, losers.

Tony looks at the camera and then back at Clint.

TONY: Not your best work.

CLINT: That’s because I did my best work on your mom last night.


INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

STEVE: It’s really not a big deal--the art show, I mean. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, but I started taking this painting class a few months ago. My teacher told me that I had the most natural talent of anyone in the class.

I mostly do folk style--Americana. I went into the Army right out of high school, but I always wanted to go to art school.

It was nice of Tony to offer to come to the show, even though he’s probably doing it out of pity. Sharon has a yoga class that night, so she can’t make it.

Steve looks down at his lap and smiles.


INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Clint and Tony are working at their desks, which face each other. Tony is on the phone talking to a client. Wanda walks past their desk. Clint’s eyes go wide, and he throws a paper wad at Tony.

CLINT: (whispers) Go check the men’s room.

TONY: (putting his hand over the receiver) What? I’m on a call. You go check the men’s room.

CLINT: Pietro left two minutes and 14 seconds ago, and Wanda left her desk exactly 61 seconds after.

TONY: I don’t know if it’s more alarming that you counted or that I believe you.

CLINT: (waves his hand dismissively) They are in flagrante delicto in a bathroom stall right now and you’re wasting time.

TONY: (into the phone) I’ll throw in the card stock for free. What do you say? Great. Thank you. (to Clint) All right, all right. Let’s send Bruce.

CLINT: (leans back in his chair and looks over at Bruce) Say, Bruce?

BRUCE: I don’t want to be involved in this.

Thor appears, seemingly from nowhere, beside Clint and Tony’s desk.

THOR: I will take on this mission, friends!

TONY: You don’t have to, Thor. Really it’s--

Thor has already dashed out of the room.


INT. THE MEN’S ROOM - MORNING

Thor comes in flying in as if he had been trying to kick the (swinging) door down. The door almost brains him as he catches his balance. Standing at a urinal is Vision, who hurriedly zips up.

VISION: Not cool, Thor.


EXT.  THE PARKING LOT BEHIND THE OFFICE - MORNING

Pietro and Wanda are leaning up against an old Volvo, sharing a cigarette.

WANDA: (to the camera) They think we’re fucking in the men’s room?

PIETRO: (to the camera) I would never fuck a girl in a men’s room. That’s just unsanitary. A ladies’ room maybe. Did you know they have anterooms? Couches and shit. When I found that I out, I started a petition at my college to get couches in all the men’s rooms.

WANDA: How’d that work out for you?

PIETRO: We got one couch...that we burned after a football game the next week. They shut my campaign down after that.

Wanda rolls her eyes at the camera and shrugs.

WANDA: Look, sometimes we just need a break from all the assholery we deal with on a constant basis here.


INT.  BREAK ROOM - NOON

Coulson and Maria are sitting at the table eating lunch. Coulson is showing pictures of his cats to Maria.

COULSON: And this one is Ember. She was the runt of her litter.

MARIA: She’s gorgeous. Look at that coloring. It’s rare for an orange tabby to be a female.

Coulson beams.

COULSON: Very rare. She’s polydactyl, too.

MARIA: Oh, that reminds me. You have to try out my new groomer. I have her card back at my desk.

Clint walks into the break room, hears the conversation, and walks right back out.

COULSON: That would be fantastic. This transfer happened so fast, I haven’t been able to look for one yet. I never thought Scranton would have a decent cat groomer.

MARIA: And she’s good, too. I have pictures on my phone.


INT.  CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

CLINT: I hate cats. There. I said it. I am not a cat person. They walk around like they’re better than me. And I like to sleep naked, so when they climb all over me when I stay over at--uh, I mean, I just don’t like them. Period.


INT. WAREHOUSE - AFTERNOON

The camera is aimed toward pallets with stacks of paper boxes on them. Through a break in the boxes, Coulson can be seen pacing. Moments later, Clint comes up to him.

COULSON: Are you sure no one saw you?

CLINT: Of course I’m sure. Who do you think you’re talking to? I’m built for stealth.

COULSON: I know exactly who I’m talking to.

Coulson wraps his arms around Clint and tugs him in for a kiss. Coulson breaks away from the kiss. Clint nuzzles against his neck. 

COULSON: We can’t keep doing this here. God. Clint. Don’t stop.

CLINT: You’re the one who thought we needed separate apartments.

COULSON: I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept for you. We’re under cover. If anyone found out I lived at your farm, it would all be over. Anyway, why does it matter? We don’t live together in DC either.

CLINT: How would anyone find out? Like I’m ever inviting Tony and Steve over for borscht.

COULSON: I can’t believe I’m love with a man who has a beet farm.

CLINT: Hey, I grow parsley, too. I sold some to the V8 people last month.

COULSON: Anyway, I might have a Super Bowl party or something at my place. It would look weird if it wasn’t lived in.

CLINT: You could keep your cats on the farm, Phil.

COULSON: They’re not farm cats. They’re indoor cats. I’m not having this argument with you. Just--yeah, there.

Clint is reaching his hand down Coulson’s pants. He ducks his head to look through the stacks of boxes and winks right into the camera.


INT.  THE OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Natasha stalks out of her office and up to Clint and Tony’s desk.

NATASHA: Clint, I need to see you. In my office. Now.

Tony and Steve share a look. Tony leans back in his chair and puts his arms behind his head as Clint gets up and walks slowly toward Natasha’s office. Tony looks over at Steve, who gestures his head toward Coulson. Tony nods.


INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Natasha is sitting at her desk with her arms crossed, glaring at Clint as he walks in.

NATASHA: You did that on purpose.

CLINT: Did what on purpose?

NATASHA: Don't be an idiot. It's me. Does Coulson know he was on camera?

CLINT: In spite of what Phil says, he totally has an exhibitionist kink.

NATASHA: Just because you think of this assignment as a punishment doesn’t mean you’re not still on assignment.

CLINT: Look, the way I see it, I’m helping our cover.

NATASHA: How do you figure?

CLINT: If people think I’m acting weird or shady, they’ll think I’m trying to hide my relationship with Phil. It’s the perfect cover.

NATASHA: So you’re rationalizing having sex at work as being an asset to the mission.

CLINT: Yes.

NATASHA: You’re coming over to go through Department X’s sales manifests with me tonight.

CLINT: What? That’s not fair!

NATASHA: In case you forgot. That is your actual job, Clint. You’re horrible at selling paper.

CLINT: That’s not fair! I made a sale this morning to an elementary school. They promised me I could come to the holiday party to help the kids decorate cookies. Wait. How did you get their sales manifests?

NATASHA: Disgruntled former employee. He now works at A.I.M. and happens to also get lunch at Applebee’s.

Clint doubles over laughing.

NATASHA: What’s so funny?

CLINT: The idea of you eating lunch at an Applebee’s.

Natasha throws her stress ball at Clint’s forehead.

Chapter Text

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - MORNING

Natasha is leaning back with her feet propped up on the desk.

STEVE: So, I have this art show tonight.

NATASHA: That’s great, Steve! Have you invited everyone in the office? You’re too modest. I’ll send around an email. What time is it?  

STEVE: Oh, that’s not what I—

NATASHA: Nonsense. I’ll take care of it. Does Tony know about this? He and I can probably carpool. Maria and Jane will definitely be in. I’m sure Clint and Phil will go. Phil keeps bemoaning to me the lack of culture in Scranton.

STEVE: Um, do you really think it’s a good idea to invite Clint at an art show?

NATASHA: I’ve known Clint a lot longer than you. He’s really—well, now that I think about it, you’re right, maybe that’s not such a good idea.

STEVE: I was actually just asking if I could leave a little early today because I have to go help set up.

NATASHA: Oh, sure, go for it.

Natasha is already composing the invitation email on her computer.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

NATASHA: Clint got us kicked out of craft store in Hoboken once. We were there for, uh, business, and I was looking for a new quilting hoop because mine got broken in an unfortunate, uh, encounter. Anyway, Clint in a store full of kitschy crafting supplies was not a good idea. He rearranged a whole section of styrofoam balls into a human centipede. I mean, I don’t think he would interfere with anyone’s art on display...unless there are sculptures. Or anything that doesn’t have a “Do Not Touch” sign on it. Okay, I’ll probably leave him off the invite.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

CLINT: I was doing the crafting housewives of Hoboken a favor, opening their eyes to a darker side of human sexuality. (crosses his arms) I don’t have to explain myself to you.  

 

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - MORNING

Natasha is on the phone with Fury.

NATASHA: Are you kidding me?

Natasha grimaces as she listens to Nick.

NATASHA: What did I do to deserve this assignment, Nick? What happened in Odessa wasn’t my fault. I took a bullet for that engineer. Isn’t there an HR person who should do this?

Natasha shakes her head vigorously as Nick speaks.

NATASHA: No, no. Fucking Jasper. I hate that guy. He’s not doing this.

 

INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Clint and Tony are sitting doing work. A ceiling tile falls, crashing down beside their desks. A quiver of arrows comes crashing onto the floor right after it. Clint keeps working (or appears to be working) as if it didn’t happen.

Tony looks over at Steve. Their eyes both go wide. Steve looks pointedly at Clint. Tony shrugs.

TONY: Um, Clint?

Clint keeps working at his desk, typing furiously at his computer.

TONY: Clint!

CLINT: I’m working here, Tony. You know, that thing we get paid to do.

TONY: So, Legolas, you’re not going to say anything about the quiver of arrows that just fell out of a ceiling by your desk.

Clint keeps typing.

TONY: Nothing? You’re just going to pretend like arrows just randomly fall from—

Tony is interrupted as a bow crashes down onto Clint’s desk. Tony looks at the camera with wide eyes. Clint lifts his arms over the bow and keeps typing.

 

INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY

Steve and Tony are crowded together by the refrigerator, talking in low voices.

STEVE: I bet he goes all out. Covers himself in deer pee to mask his scent, camps out in the woods for days.

TONY: I still think it’s Robin Hood cosplay. Or maybe Green Arrow. He doesn’t strike me as the comic book type, though.

STEVE: But why would he use real arrows for a costume?

TONY: Is there any explaining Clint?

STEVE: Good point.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

CLINT: So, I have a stock of weapons in the ceiling. So what? If this place gets raided by Department X Suppliers, we have to be prepared. These people won’t be able to defend themselves against an attack like that. Maybe Steve could. And I’m not sure, but I think Wanda might have killed someone before. She has the whole crazy eyes thing going for her. But everyone else? Hopeless.

 

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - AFTERNOON

All the office staff are sitting in the conference room, where chairs have been set up in rows to face the front of the room.

NATASHA: So, today we’re talking about sex.

All the men in the room sit up straighter in their seats.

JASPER: Um, Natasha, we should have talked about this beforehand. I thought this was an all-hands meeting.

NATASHA: Shut up, Jasper. Okay, not sex so much as sexual harassment. Unwanted advances, leering, groping—Darcy, where are you going?

DARCY: You said “unwanted.”

NATASHA: Yes.

DARCY: Then none of this is going to apply to me.

Thor and Vision share a look.

NATASHA: Sit down, Darcy.

Darcy rolls her eyes at the camera and sits back down.

JASPER: Natasha, when you asked me to bring the employee handbook to this meeting, I didn’t know that we were going to—there are procedures, videos, protocols—

TONY: Let’s see these videos. I think the visual aids will really help me understand what “no” means.

PIETRO: Are they from the 70s like the other training videos? Pornstache city.

NATASHA: Those videos are so lame. All the scenarios are the same. We could act them out and save everyone an hour of their life that they’re never going to get back. You want to help, Jasper? Pretend I’m the new secretary.

STEVE: We prefer the term “Administrative Assistant.”

NATASHA: Administrative Assistant then. Now, tell me you like my shirt, Jasper.

JASPER: I’m not going to tell you I like your shirt.

VISION: But why wouldn’t Natasha want a compliment on her shirt. It makes her breasts look fantastic.

WANDA: Oh my god, Vision.

PIETRO: Yeah, come on, man.

Tony looks gleefully at the camera before leaning back and crossing his arms.

THOR: What if I tell Steve he has on a nice shirt because I want to know where he bought it?

JASPER: Well, that would be different. (glaring at Natasha) Wouldn’t it, Natasha?

CLINT: What if I tell Steve he has on a nice shirt, because it makes his pecs look stellar? I mean, I know I’m built, but Steve...specimen. What if I say “Hey, Tony, don’t Steve’s pecs look fantastic in that shirt? I mean, look how tightly stretched over his chest it is. There has to be some spandex in that cotton blend.” (to Steve) You’re going to pop a button, man.

Coulson leans forward and smacks Clint upside the head. Tony has turned bright red. Steve has turned bright red and is looking at Natasha for help. Natasha is trying not to laugh.

STEVE: Um, I—

DARCY: Dude, Clint’s right. That shirt is almost indecent. You should put on a sweater or put your money where your mouth is.

STEVE: Put my money where my—that doesn’t make any sense.

DARCY: I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone in the room when I say that you are offering up yourself for sexual ogling wearing shirts that are at least two sizes too small.

THOR: I’m not gay, but I’m pretty sure I’d let you bone me in that shirt.

PIETRO: Me too.

MARIA: I’d switch teams for that chest, too.

JASPER: (shouts) From now on, no one say anything about anyone’s shirt ever!

NATASHA: You are never, ever going to hear me say this again, Jasper, but I agree.

Bruce is snoring in the corner of the room. On a particularly loud snore, he jerks his head up and looks around the room, shrugs, and goes back to sleep.



INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

JASPER: I don’t know why Natasha doesn’t like me. Personality difference, I guess. When you’re the HR guy, you get used to it, though.

 

INT. SCRANTON COMMUNITY CENTER - NIGHT

Thor and Jane are standing awkwardly in the lobby of the Scranton Community Center. There are other guests and local artists milling around the art exhibit in the main room.

THOR: I starred in ‘My Fair Lady” here last year.

JANE: And you were an excellent, Colonel Pickering, sweetie.

THOR: (huffs) I was an understudy for Higgins. The guy they gave the part to was the director’s son—his adopted son.

JANE: (pats Thor’s arm) Oh, look, there’s Coulson.

Coulson is in the corner of the main exhibition room texting furiously and not paying attention to any of the art. Thor and Jane see him and approach.   

JANE: Texting Clint?

COULSON: My cat-sitter.

Jane gives the camera a look that rivals one of Tony’s.

 

INT. SCRANTON COMMUNITY CENTER - NIGHT

Natasha and Tony walk through the exhibit, stopping in front of Steve’s display. About 10 of Steve’s paintings are hanging up—they mostly depict scenes of soldiers stationed in the Middle East during their down time, doing mundane things like laundry, playing cards, and smoking.

NATASHA: You’re really talented, Steve. Isn’t he, Tony?

TONY: (with genuine awe in his voice) These are amazing.  

Steve’s art teacher interrupts them, tugging along someone she wanted Steve to meet. Natasha and Tony move on to the next exhibit, but Tony turns back to look fondly at Steve.

 

EXT. SCRANTON COMMUNITY CENTER - NIGHT

The art show is over, the parking lot nearly empty, and Tony is helping Steve carry his paintings out to Steve’s car.

STEVE: Thanks for coming, Tony.

TONY: It was really nice to see your work. I knew it would be terrific knowing how well you draw.

STEVE: I’m still experimenting with my style.

TONY: Well they looked professional to me. You should really try to find gallery space for them.

Steve awkwardly scrubs the back of his neck with his hand as Tony very carefully puts the painting he was carrying into the back of Steve’s SUV.

STEVE: You don’t have to help me. I can get the rest.

TONY: It’ll go faster with both of us.

STEVE: Yeah, okay. One more trip, I think.

After they put the last paintings in, Steve closes the back of his SUV. They stand and look at each other without speaking. Tony leans in to kiss Steve. For a few seconds, Steve melts against him and into the kiss. But then Steve breaks away suddenly.

STEVE: Tony, we can’t.

TONY: We can.

STEVE: Tony, you’re my best friend, and we work together, and I’m not exactly single. It’s just—it would really be better if we didn’t. Please. Not—not now.

Steve hurries to get into his car. Tony stands alone in the parking lot, taken aback.  

Chapter Text

INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Tony walks into the office and avoids looking at Steve. Steve opens his mouth to say something, but glances at the cameras and then closes his mouth. As everyone else trickles into the office, they can sense that something is awkward between Steve and Tony. The office is silent as they work. Even Clint is silent. He sits at his desk making origami dragons. Then Sam comes in from the warehouse with some paperwork for Natasha. Wanda jumps up from her desk and starts flirting with him. Pietro clearly looks mad.

TONY: (to Clint) I can’t tell if it’s protective older brother mad or get your hands off my woman mad.

CLINT: What if it’s both?

TONY: You think?

CLINT: I grew up in the circus, man. There is literally nothing I haven’t seen before, and I mean nothing.

TONY: I thought you grew up on the beet farm.

CLINT: What? Oh no, the beet farm was a solid investment I made after my circus days.

TONY: (skeptically) So what did you do in the circus then? Clown? Lion tamer? Bearded lady?

CLINT: Juggler slash tightrope walker.

Tony looks at the camera with a raised eyebrow.

TONY: I need to see this.

CLINT: (shrugs) Good luck finding tightrope wire in Scranton.

Tony turns to look at Steve out of habit. Steve looks up hopefully to meet Tony’s eye. Tony looks away quickly and back down at his computer.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

STEVE: Honestly, I panicked. I totally panicked. I was going to ask Tony out a long time ago, but he got back together with Pepper before I could. And now he won’t even look at me and work is awkward, and I wanted to kiss him back. He’s a really good kisser. So good I don’t want to think about why he’s so good. But then I thought about how it isn’t fair to Sharon. Plus, what if Tony and I start dating and then one of us screws it up? We’ll never be able to go back to being friends. Or co-workers. I’ll have to find another job. I’m just not ready for that. Or, at least, I didn’t think I was. But maybe I am. And I can’t even get Tony to look at me.

 

EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY

CLINT: Think I could shoot an arrow through the donut in that sign?

COULSON: Don’t even think about it. The last thing we need to do is get the local news here talking about the guy with a bow and arrow trick-shooting at Dunkin’ Donut signs.

CLINT: You’re no fun.

COULSON: That’s not what you said last night.

Clint smirks at the camera as Natasha hurries toward them.

CLINT: Where have you been? This whole thing was your idea.

NATASHA: Dealing with an HR “crisis.” Don’t ask. Fucking Jasper. Nick did this on purpose. He’s still mad about that scientist in Sokovia.

CLINT: I thought you got that guy.

COULSON: That wasn’t the issue. She stupidly got herself kidnapped in the process.

NATASHA: It was all a part of my plan, and leave me alone. You’re not my handler any more.

CLINT: That’s right. You’re not our handler any more.

COULSON: Professionally, no. But personally--

NATASHA: Nope. No. I don’t want to know what the two of you get up to when I’m not around, so I’m putting on my “professional” hat, we’re going on this recon mission, and we’re not going to talk about how you tie Clint up and he calls you daddy.

CLINT: Actually, I call him “sir” or “master,” if he’s feeling randy.

NATASHA: (puts her fingers in her ears) La la la, I can’t hear you.

 

INT. NATASHA’S CAR - DAY

NATASHA: (to the camera) So, we’re going to pay the county hospital a visit today. When Clint and I went through the invoices, this one was the only one that didn’t match up to normal paper sales. It makes sense, a hospital is a great cover for drug activity, especially scripts, and A.I.M. Paper hasn’t wanted to get involved. Clint and Coulson are coming to scope out the operation. See if anything is out of the ordinary.

CLINT: I mostly came along so I didn’t have to look at Tony’s super sad face anymore. Did Steve make fun of his goatee or something?

NATASHA: Oh god. I left Tony in charge. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that was a bad idea.

 

INT. THE OFFICE - DAY

Steve approaches Tony’s desk tentatively, and Tony ignores him completely, gets up, and walks into Natasha’s office. The camera pans to Bruce, who rolls his eyes.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

BRUCE: I don’t like to get involved in other people’s business. I have carefully avoided learning any personal information about any of my colleagues for the last 10 years. I don’t even know Thor’s last name. Darcy makes it hard--she overshares. But Tony and Steve? Those two are ridiculous. I’m almost tempted to care.

 

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - DAY

Thor is pacing back and forth in front of Natasha’s office. Tony tries to ignore him, but Thor isn’t exactly subtle. Tony looks into the camera and sighs before getting up to open the door.

TONY: Just spit it out, Thor. What’s your problem?

THOR: Not that I don’t find you worthy, friend, but why did Natasha put you in charge instead of me?

TONY: Actually, you’re saying exactly that you don’t think I’m worthy.

THOR: (pouting) Well, I have an MBA, and I’m a paper-selling legacy. You know my dad owned Asgard Paper.

TONY: That’s great. Good for you, crown prince of Asgard. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve worked here longer.

THOR: Which might make you head of sales, but I’m more qualified as junior management.

Tony leans against the door frame and crosses his arms.

TONY: (loudly) There’s only one way to solve this.

DARCY: Naked mud-wrestling?

WANDA: I’d watch that.

PIETRO: Hussy. He’s talking about jousting!

TONY: Everyone, 30 minutes starts now. Then, to the jousting stations!

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

PIETRO: Okay, normally I pretend that Tony Stark doesn’t exist, but the jousting is kind of awesome. When someone is challenged to a joust, they have 30 minutes to use random office supplies to build their weapon. Then they go to opposite ends of the hallway in their desk chairs and roll toward each other as fast as they can, using their weapon to try to tip the other person over. The dispute is officially ruled as settled depending on whoever won.

The best was when Darcy and Rhodey were arguing about the Flyers' chances in the playoffs. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but Darcy is crazy strong and a really devoted Flyers fan. I think Rhodey’s shoulder is still fucked up. We might have to ban her. We banned Clint after he tried to use a mace, like, an honest-to-god mace. Clint is one weird dude.

 

INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY

BRUCE: You going to the joust, Steve?

STEVE: I don’t think Tony would want me there.

JANE: Are you going to tell us what happened last night?

STEVE: Nothing happened. It’s fine.

Steve shuffles out of the break room with his head hanging down.

BRUCE: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we have to do something about them.

DARCY: Lock them in the supply room until they start screwing?

JANE: You know, that’s actually not a bad idea.

Bruce rolls his eyes at the camera.

BRUCE: Let me try it my way first. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try the supply room thing.

DARCY: (points to the cameraman) You better capture that shit. Put it in slo-mo. I can use that as masturbatory fodder for months.

 

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

Natasha is in an office in the hospital, talking to an assistant to the CFO of the hospital. The assistant is squirrely and looks way too young for their position.

NATASHA: So you usually get your paper from Department X?

HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE: Well, my boss always said they have the best prices.

NATASHA: But…?

HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE: But I ran the numbers, and I think I could save some money by going with S.H.I.E.L.D. Paper. I’m not sure why we don’t use you guys in the first place, the lower shipping costs alone would save thousands.

NATASHA: Are you new?

HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE: Yeah, I just came on about two months ago.

NATASHA: Trying to impress the boss?

HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE: Can you get the cameras out of here?

 

INT. THE OFFICE - DAY

The group walks back into the office. Thor is rubbing his wrist while dragging his chair behind him. Jane pats his other arm. Tony is twirling his stapler, pen, and duct tape jousting stick.

TONY: If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my temporary office celebrating the spoils of victory.

WANDA: (to Steve) I honestly don’t know what you see in Stark.

STEVE: He has a big heart.

DARCY: He’d better have a big something else.

Steve blushes and turns away from the camera.

 

INT. NATASHA’S CAR - DAY

NATASHA: (to Coulson) This kid’s boss is obviously doing something illegal. The kid is totally suspicious, but he thinks the boss is just skimming some off the top and is afraid to speak up. What’d you get?

COULSON: Well, we’re going to have to look at the footage later, but there were two nurses who switched IDs to get into the on-premises pharmacy. My guess is that they have a dummy ID they both use.

NATASHA: Makes sense, when inventory goes missing blame the virtual patsy. Clint, what did you get?

CLINT: The cafeteria makes a really good club sandwich.

COULSON: Barton! Take this seriously.

CLINT: There are at least two nurses involved, probably the ones you saw switch IDs. They do it on the shift handover, because the head nurse on the night shift is always 15 minutes late and pretty much gives no fucks. She’s getting married in two months and is going to quit anyway. The two nurses have orderlies do the dirty work of transporting, using biohazard bags to get the pills out of the pharmacy unnoticed. They all use smoke breaks as an excuse to do handoffs. Hospitals track the in-house pharmacy pretty tightly, so I’m guessing the boss of the guy Nat talked to is cooking the books. And I’m pretty sure the club sandwich had an aioli on it. Hospital food. Who knew?

Natasha and Coulson both reach into the backseat to hit Clint.

CLINT: What?

NATASHA: You got all that in 35 minutes?

CLINT: Twenty-five. There was a long line in the cafeteria.

COULSON: That would explain what these kids keep overdosing on is cut with sympathomimetics.

NATASHA: Department X Suppliers is a client of every major hospital in the region. They’re probably running this scam, and this CFO seems to be near the top of the food chain. Do we go in or do we wait to get intel on distribution?

CLINT: Go in.

COULSON: This is why you both still need a handler. This is probably small time, but the last thing we need is for the two of you trigger-happy boneheads acting like you’re back in Budapest.

CLINT and NATASHA: Fine.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - DAY

Tony has somehow managed to set up a tightrope two feet off the ground between two telephone poles in the office parking lot. Most of the office crew is lingering around. Wanda and Pietro are noticeably absent. Natasha, Clint, and Coulson get out of the car and walk toward the small crowd that has gathered.

NATASHA: Clinton Francis Barton what did you tell Tony?

CLINT: I let it slip that I had been in the circus.

NATASHA and COULSON: Clint!

CLINT: Don’t worry, I didn’t say anything about the archery. I said I was a tightrope walker.

COULSON: Here we go.

Clint walks up to his assembled co-workers.

CLINT: (shouting) Come one! Come all! See the amazing Clint Barton dazzle you with his superior balance, spectacular hand-eye coordination, and glorious gluteal muscles!

Clint takes the oranges Tony hands him to juggle and then hops up onto the tightrope like it’s nothing. As he casually walks across the rope, he juggles three oranges all while whistling "Entrance of the Gladiators."

NATASHA: (to Coulson) Well, shit. Did you know he could do that?

COULSON: You’re the one who didn’t want to hear about our sex life.

Natasha pinches her nose and shakes her head.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - Day

Everyone but Tony and Bruce crowd around Clint to congratulate him on his feat. Tony watches Coulson, who is standing next to Natasha, looking proudly at Clint.

TONY: How long have you been married, Bruce?

BRUCE: Betty and I have been together for 23 years in October.

TONY: What’s your secret? I mean, look at Clint and Coulson--don’t even try to tell me they haven’t been together for years--how does Coulson put up with that unpredictability? How does anyone? Don’t you get frustrated and annoyed?

BRUCE: Well, that’s kind of the secret, Tony. I’m always annoyed.

TONY: That sounds terrible.

BRUCE: If you go into it knowing that there’s going to be some things you can’t control and that are going to irritate you, then you can accept it and really enjoy all the good things. It’s worth it, Tony. It’s definitely worth it.

Tony looks over at Steve who is standing on the other side of the parking lot talking to Sharon. Bruce looks at the camera and rolls his eyes. Again.

Chapter Text

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - DAY

Natasha is sitting at her desk with her arms crossed, scowling. Jasper is holding out a piece of paper to her that she refuse to take from him.

NATASHA: What the hell is this?

JASPER: It’s a fitness initiative that our healthcare provider--

NATASHA: We have to set up health and wellness activities for our employees? And put healthy snacks in the vending machines? This is insane. I’m running a paper company, not a gym. What do you want from me? Group calisthenics?  

JASPER: Well, you know Department X Suppliers have a gym on the premises and bring in a trainer once a week to give kickboxing classes.

Natasha raises an eyebrow at the camera.

NATASHA: Department X Suppliers has kickboxing classes? They’re training their employees to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat? Now, that is interesting.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

JASPER: Natasha terrifies me. I mean, she’s obviously in shape. I thought she would be interested in the wellness initiative. Oh god. Don’t tell her I noticed that she was in shape. I mean, not that I noticed. Though how could you not notice? Look, she could kick my butt. Don’t tell her, okay? Guys?

 

INT. THE OFFICE - DAY

Tony and Clint are sitting at their desks working. Or pretending to work, in Clint’s case.

TONY: (to Clint) I saw you talking to Steve earlier.

CLINT: I am not at liberty to confirm or deny the event in question.

TONY: No, but I saw you very clearly talking to each other earlier, so there’s no reason for you to confirm or deny it.

CLINT: I am not at liberty to confirm or deny the event in question.

TONY: I just want to know how he’s doing. Darcy told me that--

CLINT: I am not at liberty to confirm or--

Tony gets up and pours his coffee over Clint’s head.

CLINT: --deny the event in question. You need to get laid, dude.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

TONY: So, Darcy told me that she thinks Steve and Sharon broke up. And maybe I saw Sharon this morning and maybe it looked like she had been crying. And maybe I keep catching Steve looking at me. Not that I’m watching Steve or anything. That makes me sound like a stalker. Or more like Clint. I have to get out of here.

 

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - DAY

Natasha is sitting at her desk looking at illegally obtained hospital personnel files on her computer, and absently spinning a knife in her hand. Tony bursts into her office without knocking. Natasha fumbles the knife in surprise and almost slices off a finger.

TONY: Was that a knife?

NATASHA: No?

TONY: It looked like a knife.

NATASHA: Letter opener.

TONY: Uh huh.

NATASHA: Did you need something?

TONY: I think Steve and Sharon broke up.

NATASHA: Want to go down to the warehouse and do donuts with the forklift?

TONY: Why would I want to do that?

NATASHA: Sam works in the warehouse. If anyone knows what’s going on with Steve and Sharon, it’s him.  

TONY: You want me to walk down there and say, “Hey, Sam. I know we barely know each other, and for some reason you think I don’t like you. But do you know if your buddy Steve is single? Because I think I’m kind of in love with him.” I do have self-preservation skills, you know.

NATASHA: Please, I’ll ask him. I’m the boss. He has to tell me.

TONY: I don’t think it works that way.

NATASHA: (shrugs) I’ll unbutton a couple more buttons on my top.

TONY: You really take that sexual harassment stuff seriously, don’t you?

Tony raises an eyebrow at the camera.

NATASHA: It’s not harassment if I’m using my breasts to get information from someone. And, anyway, I could take down Sam with both arms tied behind my back.

Tony’s eyes get even wider.

 

INT. BREAK ROOM - MORNING

Coulson, Maria, and Darcy are having a secret meeting of the party planning committee without Steve.

COULSON: So what are we going to do for Tony’s birthday?

DARCY: I’m willing to pop out of the cake topless if you want me to.

COULSON: No one wants that, Darcy.

Vision is grabbing something out of the fridge and turns to look at them.

VISION: I wouldn’t mind that.

DARCY: See.

MARIA: We need a theme. Something that would drive Tony crazy, but that he wouldn’t be able to criticize because he knows Steve would be into it.

DARCY: Devious, Hill. I like it.

COULSON: What about “America”? Steve’s former Army. He still bakes cookies and gives them to homeless vets every week.

DARCY: So, we’re going to exploit Steve’s kind, generous nature in order to get him laid?

MARIA: That’s perfect. I didn’t know you had it in you, Coulson?

Coulson smirks at the camera.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - DAY

The camera pans across the building and then up and down like the cameraperson is searching their intended subject. Eventually the view scans up to the roof, where Clint and Natasha are sitting with their feet dangling of the side, eating lunch.

CLINT: Any word from Fury about the sting?

NATASHA: No. I think he’s holding back on purpose. For some reason he gets off of me being stuck here running a paper company.

CLINT: We should probably go to Department X HQ, you know. See how deep this goes. My spidey sense tells this didn’t originate at the hospital.

NATASHA: You don’t have a spidey sense. I have a spidey sense. Why do you think my code name is Black Widow?

CLINT: Honestly, I thought it was because you got off on killing men.

Natasha thinks about Clint’s answer for a second and then shrugs.

NATASHA: That too. I think you’re right, though. This isn’t just one rogue employee abusing their distribution system at one hospital. You don’t get that kind of distribution patterns or drug cutting from a couple of rogue nurses.

CLINT: What kind of drug lord uses a paper company as a front, though? This doesn’t fit any of the known M.O.s.

NATASHA: I’ll call in a few favors. Speaking of which, can you get your spidey sense to tingle with some ideas for wellness initiatives? "Wellness" isn’t even a word. These desk drones wouldn’t know fitness if put them in a choke hold.

CLINT: We could do a fun run, like the ones we did in basic only, you know, with fewer obstacles mimicking imminent death scenarios. You can use my farm.

NATASHA: Can we at least use barbed wire?

CLINT: There’s a fine line between “fired” and “lawsuit.”

 

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Everyone is begrudgingly filing into the conference room. Steve keeps trying to sneak glances at Tony. Tony is preoccupied pulling spitwads from Pietro out of his hair.

NATASHA: So, Jasper, want to tell everyone what you told me.

JASPER: Oh, I didn’t know that’s what this was--

NATASHA: Apparently HQ thinks you’re all unwell.

JASPER: That’s not--

NATASHA: That is what you said, Jasper.

JASPER: Well, in a manner of--

NATASHA: I’ll fire myself before getting rid of the Pop Tarts from the vending machines, so we’re going to have to appease the insurance company by getting physical.

Tony starts coughing behind his hand.

NATASHA: With an employee fun run this weekend at Barton's farm.

JASPER: That’s actually not a bad idea.

NATASHA: What?

JASPER: I think that sounds like a good idea. So long as everyone signs a waiver, it should count toward the--

NATASHA: Thanks, Sitwell. If you all show up on Sunday, I’ll give you Monday morning off.

JASPER: I don’t think you can--

NATASHA: I said "Thanks, Sitwell." That’s all you’re getting from me today, take it or leave.

 

INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY

Coulson and Maria are getting refreshments together for Tony’s birthday party. Clint comes in muttering to himself, then he hands a Tupperware container to Coulson.

CLINT: I’ve figured out that “R” is the most menacing sound in the English language. That’s why it’s called “Murder” and not “Muckduck.”

Clint turns and leaves the room.

MARIA: I don’t know what you see in him.

COULSON: Underneath it all, he’s one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever known.

Coulson opens the container and pulls a piece of paper out--it’s a love note from Clint that says “Beets for my sugar beet.”

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

COULSON: I’m not having anyone over to the beet farm, he says. It took me years to convince Fury I could maintain it without blowing my cover, he says. I’m not here to make friends, he says.

CLINT: Look, Natasha needed a solution so I made the clutch play.

COULSON: And the party afterward?

Clint looks down at his lap and shrugs.

 

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Tony’s birthday party is in full swing when Steve finally goes up to Tony. Jane starts waving her arms wildly and everyone else starts tiptoeing out of the room. Once everyone is out, Darcy slams the door shut and Maria shoves a chair under the doorknob.

Jane and Darcy are watching them through a crack in the blinds. Bruce is standing behind them with his arms crossed pretending not to be interested.

DARCY: What do you think they’re saying. “Oh, Steve, let me touch your bulging biceps.”

JANE: “Oh, Tony, I don’t care what anyone says, I think your goatee is sexy.”

DARCY: How long do you want to give them before they start tongue wrestling, Bruce?

BRUCE: Keep me out of this.

Tony and Steve crash against the window as they make out.

Chapter Text

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

Steve keeps touching his neck, trying to cover up the huge hickey on it.

STEVE: It was a dirty trick, locking us in there, but we talked. Don’t look at me like that, we did talk, eventually. I didn’t know that he and Pepper broke up. Natasha told me they had, but then I saw them together downtown. It turns out they still do volunteer work at the same place. I think it’s good that they’re still friendly. I’m pretty sure Sharon, well, she’ll get over it eventually. It wasn’t fair to her given how I felt about Tony.

 

EXT. DEPARTMENT X PAPER - MORNING

Natasha and Clint are outside of Department X Paper headquarters, Natasha is sliding a couple knives up into her sleeves. Clint is cracking his knuckles. They’re both dressed in tac gear.

NATASHA: (to the cameraman) Did you get that?

CLINT: What she means is. Did you get that great negotiation that was totally by the book and not threatening at all, Director Fury?

NATASHA: I was just gathering intel with persuasive aplomb. I didn’t threaten anyone.

CLINT: Except the security guard, the secretary, the CFO, and the guy filling the vending machine who is definitely a contractor and not a Department X employee.

NATASHA: There weren’t any Twizzlers. What kind of bullshit vending machine doesn’t have Twizzlers.

CLINT: You and your Twizzlers. Remember that time you stabbed me because I brought Red Vines on a stakeout. You have anger management issues, bro.

NATASHA: I have taste, bro . Come on, let’s hit up IHOP before we go back to the office. They added stuffed French toast back on the menu.

 

INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Tony is sitting at his desk not even pretending to work while staring at Steve. Steve keeps glancing up at Tony and smiling before getting back to work. Thor comes up to Tony’s desk.

THOR: Excuse me, friend. Where’s the boss lady?

TONY: Huh?

THOR: The boss seems to be absent, which puts you technically in charge. I had a question about an invoice, but if you’re not up for the task, I can just wait until someone more qualified gets in.

Pietro and Vision drift over to Tony’s desk from their corner of the office.

PIETRO: Yeah, someone like Clint.

VISION: Ooh, burn.

TONY: How was that a burn? That wasn’t a burn. A burn would be if I suggested to Thor that if he actually has a question about invoicing he should ask his brother. Your brother is a senior manager at A.I.M. Paper, right? Your younger brother.

VISION: Now that’s a burn.

THOR: He was adopted.

TONY: I’m not sure that makes it better, friend .

 

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Natasha and Clint are back in their normal office apparel, though Natasha is still trying to shove knives up her sleeves. Coulson meets them in the corner of the warehouse behind the palettes stacks.

NATASHA: It smells like sex down here.

COULSON: What’d you find out?

CLINT: The secretary didn’t even need Natasha to pull out any fingernails. Department X is using their distribution center to cut the hospital pain killers with fentanyl.  

COULSON: Will she testify? Do you have evidence? Do you have anything we can move on? Anything at all?

Natasha and Clint look at each other.

COULSON: You don’t have evidence. Or know who the ringleader of this operation is. Or have anything that you can give to Fury that won’t end up with me getting my ass chewed for letting you take the lead on this.

CLINT: Hey! I’m the only one who’s allowed to chew your ass.

NATASHA: I’m ignoring that. And, fine, we don’t have evidence per se, but we do have the names of two senior managers who have been making unscheduled, un-routine visits to the distribution center. They are recent transfers to the Scranton location from Philly, shouldn’t be too hard to connect them to the larger operation. This is big, Coulson.

CLINT: I’ve just got to get some eyes on the distribution center. We basically know the who now, we know the what, we mostly know the how. Once we know their schedule and how they transport the shit out of the distribution center, we’ve got ‘em.

COULSON: You two really don’t want to leave Scranton, do you?

NATASHA: Hey! I’m sure you could have had the intel, the arrest, and the trial all wrapped up in a neat and tidy bow two weeks ago, but I’m also running a paper company here. Speaking of which, you two need to get back to work.

CLINT: Oh! Schroeder needs to see the vet this afternoon. Can I leave early?

NATASHA: You may as well take the day.

CLINT: Thanks, boss!

Coulson pinches the bridge of his nose and shakes his head.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Tony is leaving the office with Steve. They keep looking at each other that they don’t see Sharon waiting at Tony’s car until she rushes up to him and slaps him across the face.

STEVE: Sharon, what are you doing? This isn’t Tony’s fault.

Sharon slaps Steve .

SHARON: I don’t know who you think you are, Steve Rogers, but whenever you finish having this gay crisis or whatever this is, don’t expect me to be here waiting for you to come crawling back. I gave you the best sex of your life!

Sam is leaving the office as this is happening. He approaches the three of them cautiously.

SAM: Everything okay here? I heard yelling all the way in the warehouse.

STEVE: Yes.

SHARON: No. Steve is flaunting Tony at me.

TONY: Flaunting me? Just because you’re a--

SAM: Hey, how about we go for a drink. Come on, Sharon. You’re better than this.

Sam looks at the camera and leads Sharon away, shooting Steve an apologetic look over his shoulder. Once they’re far enough away, Steve looks up helplessly at Tony.

TONY: Well, she’s taking this well.

STEVE: I’m so sorry. I never thought she’d react this way. I didn’t even think she liked me all that much.

TONY: I’m going to refrain from comment, which is a testament to how much I like you, because there are a lot of comments I could make.

 

EXT. CLINT’S FARM - DAY

It’s the day of the office wilderness run and everyone is gathered in front of Clint’s farmhouse in “running” clothes. Clint is wearing short shorts and doing stretches that are leaving little to the imagination. Darcy is ogling him. Vision and Thor are wearing capes for no apparent reason.

TONY: I don’t even know what to do with this. There are so many jokes I think my brain is short-circuiting. Do I go Wonder Twins? Ace and Gary? Batman and Robin?

STEVE: Did Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum wear capes?

Natasha comes jogging up where everyone has gathered. She’s carrying what is hopefully a starter’s pistol and wearing a shirt that says SHIELD Paper Fun Run.

COULSON: What, no “I heart Scranton”?

TONY: Is anyone else alarmed that Natasha is so into this idea?

THOR, CLINT, BRUCE, WANDA (in unison): Yes.

JASPER: Nice shirt, Natasha.

THOR: (shouts) Rule-breaker!

 

EXT. CLINT’S FARM - DAY

Pietro is sitting smugly with the trophy on the front porch next to Natasha watching everyone else huff and puff as they approach the finish line. Clint comes army crawling from out of the woods. Steve and Tony are both covered in mud like they’ve been rolling around in it. Coulson and Maria come in jogging up to the line together. The very last two are Darcy, puffing a cigarette, and Vision, who keeps looking over his shoulder.

VISION: Clint, do you have emus on this farm?

CLINT: Uh, why do you ask?

VISION: Um.

Vision turns around and reveals his shirt ripped almost in two.

CLINT: You didn’t taunt them, did you? That looks like Lucy’s work. Lucy doesn’t like it when you taunt Schroeder.

WANDA: You named your emus Lucy and Schroeder?

CLINT: Well, I like to think that they named themselves.

JANE: Well, I, for one, think that’s sweet.

MARIA: That’s how my cats came by their names.

VISION: Do I need a rabies shot?

Clint has already taken off toward the woods, presumably to check on the emus.

VISION: Was that a no?

Thor comes up and claps Vision on the back. Vision flinches.

THOR: Better than an ostrich. 

 

EXT. CLINT’S FARM - NIGHT

Music is coming from the farm house. Clint stumbles out of the front door and looks right at the cameras.

CLINT: You guys are welcome to come in, but, uh, no cameras.

The view is turned sideways as the camerapersons take off and set down their cameras.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

Natasha is wearing sunglasses.

NATASHA: I don’t want to talk about Clint’s fun run after party.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

PIETRO: I take back every mean thing I ever said about Tony Stark. He out-drank Natasha like it was nothing, and I’m pretty sure she’s Russian. And Russians can drink.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

VISION: Clint made me apologize to the emus.

Vision turns to show a bandage on the back of his neck.

VISION: I don’t think they accepted my apology.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Tony and Steve have both changed out of work clothes and are leaving the office together. As soon as they step out of the office, they clasp hands, both looking giddy. Sam and Vision are standing outside smoking.

SAM: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they do look damn cute together. Is this is their first date?

VISION: Officially, yes, though they were definitely getting hot and heavy at Clint’s party. Hot. And. Heavy.  

SAM: Someone has been using the storage area in the warehouse as their fuck pad. I just always thought it was the two of them.

VISION: Oh, that would be Phil and Clint.

SAM: You’re not as dumb as you look, are you?

VISION: (shrugs) I wasn’t born yesterday.

Chapter Text

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - DAY

Jasper hands Natasha a piece of paper. Natasha snatches it out of his hand and starts reading it. She looks up at Jasper and then looks back down at the paper, re-reading it.

NATASHA: I’m really sorry to hear that, Jasper, but I’m happy for you. A federal position is a great opportunity.

Natasha widens her eyes at the camera and smiles.

 

INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY

Coulson and Maria are watching a video of Maria’s cat on her phone. Steve comes in scanning the room. He reaches up and pushes up a ceiling tile.

STEVE: Hey, Phil, can you get Clint to distract Natasha so we can do something for Jasper this afternoon?

COULSON: Why are you asking me?

STEVE: Uh.

Steve looks at the camera with a raised eyebrow.

STEVE: Because you’re the Clint Whisperer?

COULSON: The Clint Whisperer?

MARIA: That’s actually a really good one.

COULSON: I have no idea what either of you are talking about.

MARIA: Your cats were at his farm house.

COULSON: Only Milky Way and Phillip. They’re the best mousers. After the incident with the rat here last month, Clint didn’t want to take any chances with all of you at his place.

MARIA: That was actually really considerate of Clint.

COULSON: I told you. Anyway, why can’t you ask Clint to distract Natasha yourself? Or better yet, tell Natasha she’s not invited.

STEVE: I like my balls where they are, thanks. And Clint is crawling in the air ducts again. Said something about fire codes not being up to date. I didn’t ask any follow-up questions.

COULSON: Clint takes fire codes very seriously.

Steve looks at the camera, this time with both eyebrows raised.

 

EXT. DEPARTMENT X DISTRIBUTION CENTER - NIGHT

Natasha and Clint are dressed in black, skulking toward the Department X distribution center.

NATASHA: So everyone is going out for drinks with Jasper and they asked you to run interference?

CLINT: Yup. Worked out well since we were planning on stalking Department X anyway.

NATASHA: Do they really think I hate Jasper that much?  

CLINT: You do hate Jasper that much. Why do you hate Jasper that much?

NATASHA: Technically he works for corporate, so he’s not really a part of the office.

CLINT: Technically you aren’t really a part of the office.

NATASHA: Okay, fine. It’s because he stops me from doing anything fun.

CLINT: Nat.

NATASHA: And he told me that I couldn’t rearrange the office because the sight lines are terrible from my desk.

Clint nods sympathetically.

 

INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Bucky is standing in front of Steve’s desk, chatting. Natasha walks in, sees Bucky, and then drops the folder of papers she’s holding. Clint laughs and Steve and Bucky rush over to help her pick up the papers. Brief introductions are made as Natasha tries to gather her composure. Natasha whistles to get everyone’s attention.

NATASHA: Everyone, I’d like to introduce James Barnes, he’ll be our new HR representative. I hope you’ll all show him a warm welcome.

CLINT: (muttering) I bet you’d like to warm his welcome.

BUCKY: What?

CLINT: I’m Clint! Nice to meet you! Welcome to SHIELD Paper.

Natasha glares at Clint. Meanwhile, Tony is eying Bucky up and down suspiciously because of the way Steve is standing close to him. Noticing this, Thor rushes up to Bucky.

THOR: Welcome to the team, James!

BUCKY: Thanks, everyone. You can call me Bucky. I know that Jasper Sitwell is leaving behind some big shoes to fill, but I hope I can avoid the “everyone hates the HR guy” stereotype.

Everyone turns to look at Natasha.  

NATASHA: How about we finish your orientation in my office?

BUCKY: Lead the way.

 

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - MORNING

Bucky follows Natasha into her office and closes the door behind him.

BUCKY: If there’s anything I can help with, Ms. Romanoff.

NATASHA: Natasha. Everyone Natasha calls me. I mean, everyone calls me Natasha.

BUCKY: Well then, Natasha. I’m happy to assist you in any way I can.

Natasha leans forward toward Bucky, while pushing her breasts together.

NATASHA: You know, Bucky, you look really familiar to me, and I can’t place it.

BUCKY: Well, I went to grade school with Steve. I hope he’s explaining that to his boyfriend right now, because I could do without the death glares. Though I doubt he keeps a copy of his old yearbook around.

NATASHA: No, I know! It was at a club in New York, The Red Room. Your hair was shorter.

Bucky’s mouth drops open as recognition crosses his face.

BUCKY: You’re the Black Widow! You had Clint tied up in asawana.

NATASHA: The Winter Soldier! You were with Cross Bones at the time, right?

BUCKY: Yeah, yeah, he’s not on the scene anymore. God. I remember your work. It was beautiful. Where did you learn kinbaku, if you don’t mind my asking?

NATASHA: Oh, I worked in Japan for a while. What about you?

BUCKY: Ah, I actually got into it when I lived in Russia for a year when I was in the service.

Natasha stands up and comes around to Bucky’s side of the desk.

NATASHA: Clint and I have never had a sexual relationship, if that matters.

BUCKY: It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s very good to know.

Bucky leans in toward Natasha as he puts his hand up to cover the camera lens.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

STEVE: Bucky’s my best friend since we were kids, you’ve heard me mention him before, Tony.

TONY: Yeah, but when I heard “Bucky,” I had in my head a very different image in my head--buck teeth, dorky attitude--not underwear model. "Bucky" is not an underwear model kind of name.

STEVE: He’s a Civil War buff. Used to go to re-enactments, if that helps with the dorky image.

TONY: That does help actually.

STEVE: Don't tell him I told you that.

TONY: I would never.

Tony waggles his eyebrows at the camera. 

 

INT. THE OFFICE - DAY

Tony, clearly having been appeased by Steve and convinced of Bucky’s heterosexuality, is staring at Natasha’s closed office door.

TONY: Well, I think it’s time for a new pool. Who’s in? Bruce?

BRUCE: Leave me out of this.

TONY: Steve? You know you want to.

STEVE: Bucky did always have a lot of girlfriends in high school.

TONY: Clint? Usually you’re chomping at the bit.

CLINT: But this time it’s Nat--aw, fuck it, I give her 24 hours before she jumps new guy’s bones. Put me down for tomorrow. And no one tell Coulson I’m doing this.

He shoots glares around the office. No one meets his gaze.

THOR: I never got change back from when I put in for the Wanda-Pietro pool.

PIETRO: There’s a pool about me and Wanda?

WANDA: You guys have a pool over when Pietro and I are going to get caught fucking in the office? You’re all disgusting.

Bucky and Natasha come out of Natasha’s office, fixing their hair. Natasha’s blouse is untucked, and Bucky tries to discreetly zip up his fly.

NATASHA: Hey, Tony. Check your phone.

Tony pulls out his phone.

TONY: Dammit!

Natasha laughs as she and Bucky head out of the office. Natasha muttering about giving him the grand tour.

THOR: What happened?

Clint snatches the phone out of Tony’s hand, reads it, and starts laughing.

JANE: What does it say?

CLINT: “Put me down for 15 minutes from right now.” Timestamp 16 minutes ago.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

WANDA: I’m not even going to justify that question with a response. I will sue you for, well, something. I know this office is one, big cozy family, especially with Tony and Steve finally getting together, but my personal life is personal.

 

EXT. APPLEBEE’S - EVENING

Natasha is sitting in her car in the parking lot. 

NATASHA: Clint is watching the Distribution Center tonight. I don’t know how he got a hold of their schedule, but Clint’s the best so I don’t question him. I’m waiting for my contact from Philly. Apparently there are some connections to big players. Once Coulson gets the full hospital report about the drugs, we should have enough to nab these guys.

I didn’t suggest Applebee’s as a meeting place. Okay, I did. But the quesadilla burger is amazing, and there aren’t that many places to eat in Scranton.

Oh! There’s my contact. I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you boys to turn the camera off for this one.

Natasha gets out of the car, turns around to look at the camera and mouths something not-so-nice at them. The camera shuts off.

 

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - MORNING

Clint is sitting on the edge of Natasha’s desk, as Natasha is standing by the window.

CLINT: So Bucky recognized you from The Red Room and then you got him naked. Heh. Buck naked. Think he’s going to let you tie him up? Do you think he’d be willing to go gay for a scene?

NATASHA: Do you think Coulson would share?

CLINT: Phil isn’t really a sharing type of guy.

NATASHA: Speaking of which, get him in here. There’s no time to be more discreet. We’re going to have to move on this fast.

CLINT: We’re never discreet. He and I have been fucking in the warehouse since our second day here.

NATASHA: That’s not what I meant about discreet. The two of you are the least subtle spies on the planet. Literally everyone knows the two of you are together, even if you want to pretend like they don’t.

CLINT: I don’t think--

NATASHA: Even Vision knows.

CLINT: Are you sure about that? Because he thought a Cleveland steamer was a boat.

NATASHA: Why were you talking to Vision about Cleveland steamers? No, wait, I don’t want to know the answer to that question ever. Can you just go get Coulson?

Coulson walks into the room. Natasha stares at Clint.

NATASHA: Are you two telepathic?

COULSON: He texted me.

CLINT: Aw, you’re no fun.  

NATASHA: We have enough to move on this now, and if we keep poking around someone is going to get suspicious. There’s a shipment going out tomorrow night, should be the best opportunity to nab them.

COULSON: I agree. Good work, Natasha. Are you sure you want to move on this? We could call in Agent Preston?

CLINT: I thought she was still stuck with Wilson. Do you really want to deal with Wilson?

NATASHA: You just don’t like Wilson because he flirts with you without you realizing it.

CLINT: That’s not true!  

NATASHA: Isn’t it true, Coulson?

COULSON: It’s exactly true, and you know it, Clint. And I’m only asking because you know what happens after we break this...

CLINT: Everyone finding out is going to suck. Tony, Steve, Thor, Wanda, Pietro...I’m never going to find out what’s going on with those two. And Bucky.

COULSON: Are you prepared to face those consequences, Natasha?

Natasha looks at the camera with wide eyes.  

Chapter Text

EXT. THE OFFICE - EARLY MORNING

There is a car in the parking lot already, the window are fogged up. Eventually the doors open, and Natasha and Bucky stumble out of it looking disheveled.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING

NATASHA: Fury’s punished me enough with this assignment, and Bucky’s so... he’s so… I’ve already written down a list of bullet points why Bucky and I should be together. We haven’t done much talking yet, but I’m going to tell him.

Looks down a scrap of paper.

Number one, "Bucky, you and I are soup snakes." Wait, I mean, I like soup, but that doesn't make any sense. Oh! I see it now, we're soul mates. Bucky and I are soul mates. I’m going to see if he can get a transfer when this is all over.

 

INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

STEVE: So, anything you need to tell me?

BUCKY: Can’t think of a thing, no.

STEVE: You have always been a terrible liar, Buck. Remember the time you told me we were going on a double date, and you ended up taking me to the Renaissance Faire so you could flirt with two of the serving wenches.  

BUCKY: Would you have gone with me if I had said it was the Renaissance Faire?

STEVE: No!

BUCKY: Did that serving wench sit on your lap and feed you a turkey leg?

STEVE: Yes.

BUCKY: You’re welcome.

Tony, who was eavesdropping, saunters up to Steve’s desk.

TONY: I’m going to need to ask you about a million follow-up questions.

STEVE: You don’t have to tell him anything, Buck.

BUCKY: Hey, Thor! Tell me more about Cornell. You were in an a capella group? That must have been a hell of a time.

Thor looks up from his desk, clearly surprised, but then grins and Bucky heads toward him. The camera follows him. 

STEVE: (calling after Bucky) Coward!

Bucky leans against Thor’s desk. Darcy walks by and not-so-subtly checks him out. She winks at Wanda, who nods in approval. Pietro glares at Wanda.

THOR: We called ourselves The Warriors Three, the joke, of course, was that there were seven of us.

BUCKY: Like Ben Folds Five.

THOR: Huh?

BUCKY: Never mind. So with a voice like that, you must be a bass, right?

Jane looks up at Bucky and smiles.

 

INT. THE OFFICE - DAY

Clint is sitting as his desk quietly frowning at his computer monitor.

TONY: You’re suspiciously quiet today.

CLINT: Jasper wrote up a new sexual harassment policy before he left.

TONY: Did he include the shirt rule?

CLINT: He included everything. He included innuendo.

Tony walks around the desk and starts reading the policy over Clint’s shoulder.

TONY: Wow, no innuendo. That is really hard. You really think you can go all day long? Well, you always left me satisfied and smiling, so…

NATASHA: That’s what she said.

TONY: (startles) Jesus. Warn a guy. Where did you come from?

NATASHA: Restroom. You were too busy thinking of innuendo to notice me.

CLINT: In her endo.

TONY: That didn’t make sense.

CLINT: Dammit. This is throwing me off. You’re going to do something about this, Nat, right? I can’t live like this. I can already feel my heart shriveling up. It’s like it’s gotten colder in here. Budapest-level cold.

NATASHA: You and I remember Budapest very differently.

Tony looks at the camera, confused.

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - DAY

THOR: I think Bucky is going to join the band. He can’t sing worth a damn, but he has rhythm. I can’t wait to tell Sam we have a beatboxer. I hope this doesn’t mean Sam’s going to insist on taking the lead on everything, though.

 

INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY

Steve is getting a cup of coffee while Tony leans against the counter talking to him. Darcy comes in and interrupts them.

DARCY: So, Steven, is Bucky a one-girl kind of guy?

STEVE: You know, you should probably be having this conversation with Bucky and not me.

DARCY: I don’t want to step on the boss lady’s turf. I’m not sure once I get started I’ll be able to keep my hands to myself, if you catch my drift.

TONY: Drift has been caught. In fact, I am floating away on this drift right now. I’ll see you at lunch, Steve.

Steve takes a deep breath and finishes stirring his coffee before turning to Darcy, who is now sitting up on the counter.

STEVE: I haven’t talked to Bucky about what may or may not be happening with Natasha, but there’s no way the Bucky I know is smooth enough to handle two women at once.

DARCY: I can wait my turn. Or not. I applied for a grant to get an intern.

Steve looks wide-eyed at the camera.

 

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Bucky holds the door to the conference room open as everyone files in. Natasha is the last one to enter, she reaches up for Bucky’s tie as if to pull him down with it, then she seems to realize where she is and awkwardly straightens it for him before slinking into the room.  

BUCKY: I know some of you have some complaints about the sexual harassment policy. This isn’t a corporate policy, so I’ve only been able to conclude that Sitwell was just messing with you. But, I will talk to corporate and go deeper into this.

CLINT: That’s what he said!

Tony looks at the camera with a huge grin. Pietro and Bruce both laugh into their hands.

VISION: Oh I get it!

NATASHA: Good one, Clint. (To Bucky) Is there anything else you need to cover?

BUCKY: I could apologize for all the emails about the IT security training module you all have to complete, but, seriously, you all need to complete that. Is there anything I could bribe you with? I’d like to beat the Stamford branch at getting all our scores in faster.

CLINT: I’ll do everyone’s module for them for a nominal fee.

Coulson smacks Clint upside the head.

COULSON: He’s kidding. Obviously.

BUCKY: I was thinking something more along the lines of a pizza party.

DARCY: Throw in an open bar, and I’m in.

Wanda and Vision nod in agreement.

BUCKY: How about I turn a blind eye to flasks?

DARCY: Deal.

NATASHA: So, anything else anyone wants to talk about? How are you, Jane? You’re always so quiet. I like the perfume you’re wearing, very earthy.

JANE: It’s from metropolitan Orlando. It’s made from real pine.

 

INT. NATASHA’S OFFICE - DAY

Natasha is on a call with Fury. She is leaning back in her chair with her feet up on the desk, filing her nails.

FURY: Where’s Coulson?

NATASHA: You put me in charge of this mission. We don’t need Coulson in this meeting. I just need to know if you’ve made contact with SWAT so we have backup.

FURY: I’m making Phil’s quiche recipe right now, I just wanted to know how much milk to add to the eggs.

NATASHA: The thing is, since your video feed isn’t working, I don’t know if you’re fucking with me or not.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - EVENING

The parking lot is empty. Natasha struts out of the office dressed in black, carrying a duffel bag to a black van, driven by Coulson, that is pulling up to the door. The camera pans around, finally spotting a black figure--Clint--repelling down the side of the office. 

 

INT. COULSON’S VAN - NIGHT

CLINT: This is cozy.

NATASHA: (to the camerapeople) You guys don’t have GoPros or something?

The camera moves back and forth slowly as the cameraperson shakes their head.

COULSON: Do we need to go over anything?

NATASHA: We go in as quietly as possible. We catch them in the act. If they give us any problems we shoot.

COULSON: So long as there is evidence for a conviction. And don’t shoot to kill. We need their testimony.

NATASHA: Who’s running this operation, again?

CLINT: We’ve got this, boss.

NATASHA: Hey! Which one of us were you talking to?

CLINT: In my defense, Coulson was my boss first, and he likes it when I call him that when he’s--

NATASHA: Stop right there.

 

EXT. DEPARTMENT X DISTRIBUTION CENTER - NIGHT

Natasha, Clint, and Coulson creep toward the warehouse with guns poised. Clint kicks the door open, and they all go through it. The cameras capture the sound of gunfire and a few bright flashes coming from the building. Coulson is the first to run out, speaking into a radio.

COULSON: Suspects are contained.

The local SWAT team appears moments later and enter the building. In the chaos of flashing lights that follow, Natasha and Clint come swaggering out of the building. Clint is holding one of the perpetrator's arms behind his back, and Natasha is nudging the man forward with the butt of her rifle. He says something indecipherable to her, and she gives him a roundhouse kick to the gut.

NATASHA: And your paper is shitty quality, too.

 

EXT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Clint, Natasha, and Coulson are waiting outside the office nervously the next morning. Clint has a bandage on his forehead above his right eye.

NATASHA: So this is it.

CLINT: Yep.

COULSON: You knew this day would come. Who do you think will take it the best?

NATASHA: Bucky.

CLINT: Tony.

COULSON: Maria.

CLINT: Thor’s going to shit a brick.

NATASHA: Steve’s going to cry. Dammit. Steve is going to cry.

Chapter Text

INT. THE OFFICE - MORNING

Natasha, Clint, and Coulson are cleaning out their desks while the office crew watches the “documentary” the film crew put together in the conference room. Clint hides beets in Tony's desk. 

 

INT. CONFESSIONAL ROOM - MORNING 

JANE: I always wanted to be a Bond girl, but now I sort of want to be Natasha.

THOR: They’ll do an internal hire for manager now, right? I mean, the paper business should stay in the realm of paper.

VISION: Natasha is a badass. Bad. Ass.

WANDA: I always knew something was up with her. She’s too pretty to be the manager of a paper company.

PIETRO: Even after seeing the footage, I still don’t see why everyone thinks me and Wanda are hooking up.

DARCY: I wonder if Clint and Coulson are into threesomes.

BUCKY: The fact that Nat can kick my ass actually makes her more attractive. No, I don’t find that emasculating. I’m an evolved male.

MARIA: I could pretend to be surprised, but it makes perfect sense. All three of them were a little off, you know? But Phil and I are Facebook friends now, so at least I’ll get cat updates. He said he would invite me to Lumpy’s birthday party next month.

SAM: I’m going to have to sterilize the warehouse now.

STEVE: I’m really going to miss Natasha. And Coulson. I’m pretty sure I have him to thank for getting me and Tony to finally pull our heads out of our asses.

TONY: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’m going to miss Clint. His insanity makes so much more sense now.

BRUCE: I want nothing to do with this.

THE END