They leave Chickpea as it grows dark, and the sirens outside have finally faded. Steve insists on staying another fifteen minutes to sweep the glass out of the doorway, and Tony helps him.
(He says it’s only because they weren’t charged for the meal. Bruce mentions that might have been due to the fact that no one had brought their wallets.)
They’re going back to S.H.I.E.L.D., at least for now. Loki is temporarily in their custody and in Tony’s words, Thor and Fury need to have a serious ‘come-to-jesus-meeting.’ Only Clint finds the phrasing as funny as Tony does. They agree to meet up in a few hours, after everyone has had time to clean up. The Avengers need to decide whether they have a future together, or not.
"Shit." Clint is at Natasha’s side as they leave, an arm around her shoulders, his weight supported. He gets the feeling he’s going to be spending the next few months in some sort of brace. "We’re going to be on Helicarrier clean-up detail for the rest of our lives, it’s got to be a disaster. Phil’s going to be a nightmare to live with."
She stops, so suddenly that he skips a few steps, jarring his leg. “What gives, ‘Tash?”
Steve looks back at them, his eyes wide, and fixed on Natasha’s face. He nods.
"Clint." Natasha swallows the jagged lump in her throat. The hesitation in her words is for his benefit only, she’s lost and sacrificed enough her life. She feels nothing when she speaks, but she knows her partner better than anyone. She knows he needs to hear that she hurts, even before she says the words. Even before he knows.
"We need to talk about Phil."