- “Is this love, Agent Romanoff?”
- —Loki observing their relationship, The Avengers
Before they were heroes, Natasha and Clint met and fought against Tony Stark and Peter Parker. When Natasha was injured during one of their fights, Clint retreated and took her to safety. While she recovered, she began to fall in love with Clint, which weakened her loyalty to Russia. When her employers learned the truth, they had her gunned down and sent to the hospital, which convinced Clint to abandon his criminal ties and join the Avengers.
They continued their relationship when she joined the team as well, though it became strained as Clint was usually too busy with the Avengers to pay attention to her. They ultimately decided to end the relationship, though Clint still loved her.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Before Natasha worked for S.H.I.E.L.D., she gained a reputation as one of the world's greatest assassins. Recognizing her as a threat, Nick Fury sent Clint to kill her. Instead, seeing her skill, he recommended that she be considered for S.H.I.E.L.D. recruitment. She then defected from Russia and joined S.H.I.E.L.D., starting a lifelong friendship with Clint. The two were partnered together for countless missions. She was one of the very few people who knew about his family.
Natasha was on a mission to gather intel about General Georgi Luchkov when she received a call from Agent Phil Coulson, who asked her to come in. She initially refused, saying that she was "in the middle of an interrogation." When Coulson mentioned that Clint was in trouble, Natasha immediately changed her mind. She displayed concern for him while he was under Loki's control, even asking Loki himself what he planned to do to him.
Natasha fought against a mind-controlled Clint when he infiltrated the helicarrier. The two were evenly matched until Natasha resorted to guerilla tactics and slammed his head against a metal bar, disorienting him. She then punched him in the face and knocked him out. When Clint woke up, he was free from Loki's control; Natasha had hit him hard enough to free him. She stayed by his side while he recovered, and she comforted him in his guilt of what he'd done while brainwashed. They fought alongside each other during the Battle of New York and drove off together afterwards.
AGE OF ULTRON
When Clint was injured in battle, Natasha rushed to his side to dress his wounds.
After the battle at the salvage yard in Africa, Clint found Natasha still dazed from the nightmare vision Wanda had inflicted upon her, and helped her to the Quinjet. After flying the team to his farmhouse, he helped Natasha walk inside. His kids ran up to her and greeted her as Auntie Nat.
Later, during the Battle of Seoul, when Natasha was captured by Ultron, Clint refused to leave without her, needing to be ordered by Steve to leave. He became worried while she was missing, and resorted to old-school spy techniques to find her. They fought alongside each other during the Battle of Sokovia, and Clint mentioned to her his plans to work on his house.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Though he was retired at the time of the Sokovia Accords, Clint joined Steve Rogers' team of rebel Avengers. He and Natasha subsequently fought each other at the Leipzig-Halle Airport. The two pulled their punches as they fought, according to Wanda Maximoff, as they didn't want the fight to get in the way of their friendship.
Many shippers claim the way that Clint talks to her and the way Natasha immediately helps once she's heard that Clint has been "compromised" are signals of their love. Loki, the villain, also appears to notice their relationship, saying, "Is this love, Agent Romanoff?"
Many shippers say that Natasha is in denial. Shippers have also noticed that Natasha is wearing an arrow necklace in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Those that shipped the two were disapointed when Avengers: Age of Ultron revealed Clint was married and had a family. Nonetheless, the ship remains highly popular in the fandom.
On AO3 it is the second most written ship for Clint, and the most written for Natasha. It is also the fourth most written pair in The Avengers (Marvel Movies) and The Avengers - All Media Types tags, and the fifth most written in the Marvel Cinematic Universe tag.
- “Agent Barton was sent to kill me. He made a different call.”
- —Natasha to Loki, The Avengers
- Natasha – “This is just like Budapest all over again.”
- Clint – “You and I remember Budapest very differently.”
- ―The Avengers
- Natasha – “We're still friends, right?”
- Clint – “Depends how hard you hit me.”
- ―Captain America: Civil War
- Clint named one of his sons, Nathaniel, after Natasha