“Propositioning you isn’t allowed?” Tony heaved an exaggerated sigh. “We’re going to have a difficult night, then. I doubt I’ll be able to stop myself from doing it again.”
Tony screeched to a halt in front of what had to be one of the largest buildings Clint had ever seen. The car must have been recognizable, for the valets immediately began falling all over each other in an effort to be the first to reach them, to be the one who got to park Tony Stark’s car.
Clint stared at the building. He was somewhat dreading the experience. He wanted to bring Tony, knew that Tony would enjoy this…..but he didn’t relish the thought of the crowds. The entryway alone was milling with people; he couldn’t imagine what the inside of the building looked like.
While he was still contemplating, Tony slid from the car, moving around and opening Clint’s door, offering his hand. Clint blinked up at him.
“My good sir.” The words were spoken in an air of such formal over-exaggeration, along with the courtly gesture of offering his hand, something a man would do for his lady friend, and Clint couldn’t help a snicker of laughter. He brushed off Tony’s hand.
Tony heaved a sigh. “Fine, don’t accept my offer of gallantry. I see how it is.”
“I’m not a damsel, Tony.”
“No, but you’re just so pretty.” He reached out and pinched Clint’s cheek. Again, Clint swatted his hand away.
“Don’t make me kill you.”
“Like you could.”
“Are you kidding me? I could kick your ass in five seconds.”
“……..this is true. What was I thinking?”
“I have no idea.” He noticed that people were staring. Everyone was staring. And not just staring…..whispering. Clint had known that Tony would be the object of much attention, but he hadn’t expected it to be this bad. Then he realized that a lot of the attention was focused on him. Why are they looking at me?
Tony was watching him.
“…..sorry, did you say something?”
“Nope. You just seem sort of zoned out.”
“Yeah. Just……a lot of people.”
“…..did you want to leave?”
Tony was genuinely concerned. It was so strange. All this afternoon, Clint had seen a side of Tony he had never seen before, never really expected to see. Tony had always been open, and friendly, but today he had shown Clint another side……soft, and caring. It was……unsettling. Nice, but unsettling nonetheless.
He shook his head. “No. No, I want to go.”
Tony smiled. “Okay. If you’re sure.” He turned back towards the entrance, and Clint followed him. “So, how do you want me to introduce you?”
“Well, yea. People are going to be wondering who you are. Do I give them your full name, are you Agent Barton, Hawkeye?” The last was said teasingly.
“………can’t I be anonymous?”
“Sorry, pal. You’re here now. People have seen you. You’re officially someone.”
And then the crowd was all around them, the noise almost deafening. Tony turned to him. “…besides, you’re my date.”
Clint almost choked. “What the fuck. I am not your date.”
“Yea you are. You invited me, didn’t you?”
“Well, yeah, but…..”
“That makes you my date.”
He opened his mouth to protest again, but then there was a reporter there, shoving a microphone in Tony’s face. “Tony, darling! How lovely to see you tonight!”
Clint was happy to see that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to smack the woman, though Tony was hiding it much better. Then again, he’d had much more practice, attending all these galas for so many years.
He only realized that he had tuned out Tony’s conversation when the woman’s attention landed on him. “And who’s your handsome friend here?” Oh God.
Oh. That hadn’t been nearly as traumatizing as Clint had thought. He’d honestly expected Tony to say something truly embarrassing.
“He’s my date.”
…….oh God. “His friend,” Clint cut in, unable to miss the way the woman’s eyes widened, or the fact that Tony’s words had been spoken directly into that damn microphone, which was probably recording every word. God knows what she was going to do with the information. “I’m his friend.”
“And my date.”
Clint fixed Tony with a death glare. Tony beamed back at him.
“…..well…..” The woman finally seemed to have found her voice again. Clint wished she had stayed shocked, if only just to keep her shut up. “…………..how did you two meet?”
Oh God. Clint fumbled desperately for a way to do damage control before Tony could make this any worse, but Tony was already looping an arm around his shoulders. “Oh, we met on a vacation in Acapulco, didn’t we, sweetheart?”
“Tony, I swear to God, I am going to kill you.”
The reporter was just loving this. Tony was grinning, but seemed to finally take pity on Clint. “Nah, we work together. Clint’s a SHIELD agent. Best shot I’ve ever seen.”
Despite his embarrassment and irritation, Tony’s compliment gave Clint a little twinge of pride and pleasure. The reporter looked slightly deflated to know that the two men weren’t actually a couple. He still didn’t trust her not to write some huge newspaper piece about their alleged Acapulco vacation. Dammit, Tony.
“Well, we have a party to get to. Shall we?” Tony led Clint away and inside.
“God damn you, Tony,” Clint hissed under his breath.
Tony grinned. “Sorry.”
“I am! I mean……I’m sorry but I’m not? If that makes sense. Come on……it was funny.”
Clint glared. “I fail to see the humor.”
“Come on.” They stopped, Tony leaning against the bar. “Can you picture the two of us in Acapulco, strolling on a beach at sunset, wearing Bermuda shorts and flip-flops, drinking martinis with those little paper umbrellas in the glasses?”
The mental image really was hilarious, and Clint bit back a snort of laughter.
Tony was obviously happy to see him laugh. “See?”
“Yeah, okay, it’s a funny mental image.”
“Okay. So yea…….I’m glad I said it, cuz it was funny…..but I’m sorry I embarrassed you. You took me here, I shouldn’t do that.”
It was really funny seeing Tony actually apologize for something. Clint smiled. “It’s okay.” He gave him another punch to the shoulder. “Ass.”
“Ow. Jerk. Oh!” Their proximity to the bar had apparently kick-started Tony’s memory. “The drinks…..did you make a drink list?”
“Well, what’re we waiting for.” Tony grabbed the sleeve of Clint’s jacket, spinning him to face the bar. “Let’s do it.”
It didn’t take even a full minute for the bartender to reach them. It must be nice being Tony Stark. It sucked having to fight your way through the other bar patrons to get one fucking drink. Tony didn’t even have to wave his hand.
He realized Tony had turned to him, was waiting. “What do you want?” the brunette asked.
Clint gave Tony a watered down version of that patented evil glare. “I want my damn Singapour Sling.”
For a moment, Tony looked bewildered, then he burst into laughter.
“Not funny. You denied me earlier. You said it was a Singapour Sling and you gave me a damn Wild Wet Dream. So I’m gonna have it now.”
Tony could barely get his laughter under control, raising two fingers to the bartender. “Two Singapour Slings, please.”
The bartender looked as though he wasn’t sure whether he should be amused or not. He simply opted for making the drinks as fast as possible and handing them over without comment. Apparently this was the right thing to do, for Tony gave him a huge tip. “Shall we?”
“Sure.” Clint wasn’t exactly sure what Tony meant, but followed him anyway. “….where are we going.”
“…..well, what’s this gala all about, anyway?”
He cracked up. “You don’t even know what your own gala is about?”
“Well, technically it’s not my gala.” Tony threaded his way through the crowd, making a path for Clint to follow.
“No, but from what I understand, you pay for most of it.”
“….and you don’t know what it’s about.”
“…..I pay for a lot of galas. I can’t be expected to keep track of them all.”
“Oh, yeah. Because you’re just so slow-witted. How can we expect you to remember these things?”
They had managed to make their way through the crowd. Apparently they were going to simply stop on the opposite end of the room…….not very far from yet another bar. Clint liked where this was going. With a crowd this large, and most of the people in it still staring at him and Tony, he would need a lot of alcohol to get through this night.
Tony sat down…….on the edge of a table full of food. “I’d rather think about other things.”
“Mm. Like being obnoxious?”
Tony shook his head. “I don’t need to think about that, it’s a natural gift.” Clint laughed. Tony gestured. “Sit down.”
“Tony, that’s a table full of food.”
“True; and as you pointed out, I paid for most of it.”
“I still don’t think people want your ass near it.”
“Hey, a lot of people in this room have been much closer to my ass than this.”
“Like you had to remind me?”
“Need I remind you once again of how many people have been up close and personal with YOUR fine physique?”
“No, I think you made your point earlier.”
“Good. Then sit down.” Tony yanked the front of Clint’s coat, and the blonde almost crashed into the table, nearly spilling his drink.
Tony ignored him, plucking a grape from a tray of fruit and offering it up. “Grape?”
Sighing, Clint sat beside him, accepting the offered fruit. “Thanks.”
“Tastes really good with the alcohol.”
He was right about that. Clint grabbed another. The alcohol was damn good, and along with Tony’s company, was helping him relax. Plucking another grape from the stem, he held it up, as if to throw it at Tony. “Go long.”
Tony laughed, positioning himself better, opening his mouth. Clint threw the grape and it bounced off Tony’s cheek. “Dammit.”
“Again?” A nod of agreement, but still no luck. Soon the floor was scattered with grapes, the two men laughing like a pair of teenagers when they were interrupted.
“…….okay, boys.” Pepper put her hand over Clint’s, lowering it. “I think you’ve had enough grapes now.”
Tony looked up at her. “Party pooper.”
With the sudden interruption, Clint realized once again how many eyes were on them, and since their impromptu game of grape football, the attention had only grown. The floor was littered with too many grapes to count.
“Clint, my friend. I can’t help but notice that your glass is empty.”
Clint looked down at his glass. Somehow a grape had found his way into it, and he couldn’t help but snicker. “Not quite.”
Tony looked, saw the grape, and let out what could almost be called a giggle, which set Clint to laughing all over again. Pepper shook her head, and if Clint weren’t so amused, he would have felt sorry for her.
“Well……after you’ve consumed your last grape……what do you want for your next drink?”
“Hmm….” Clint popped the grape into his mouth, considering. “…..how about a Black Russian?”
Immediately, a cloud descended over Tony’s face. “No. Nothing Russian.”
Clint stared, surprised. He had no idea what had brought on this swift mood change. “Um…..okay?” He glanced at Pepper, but for some reason, she didn’t look surprised at all, only amused. “…..maybe a Berserker?”
Tony seemed satisfied with that, the cloud clearing from his face. “Okay. I’ll be right back.” He rose from the table, moving to the bar.
Clint looked up at Pepper. “What was that about?” But she simply shrugged enigmatically, that small smile still on her face.
“I don’t know.”
He frowned. “Yes, you do.”
“Why Agent Barton, are you calling me a liar?”
But before he could answer, Tony was back, handing Clint his drink and looking for all the world as if nothing had happened, that smile back on his face. He gestured to the dance floor with a jerk of his chin. “What do you think about the music? Any lovely ladies catch your eye?” There was something very specific about the question, as though Tony was doing more than make idle conversation, as if he really truly wanted to know if Clint had his eye on anyone.
Clint couldn’t help looking out at the dance floor. To be honest, he hadn’t been looking at any of the women tonight. He’d only had eyes for Tony. The thought brought heat to his face, and he looked down at the drink in his hands.
“Ah…..I don’t dance.”
“Not even with ‘Tasha’?” Tony’s gaze was steely, calculating. He was watching Clint closely, gauging every tiny reaction. Why is he so interested?
“…..Tasha’s not really one for dancing..”
“So you’ve tried.”
“Tony,” Pepper was still nearby, spreading some brie on a slice of bread, “…you’re looking a little green.”
Clint looked at Tony, not understanding. “…..are you feeling sick?”
Tony’s face looked odd. Not mad, not upset, just…. strange. Clint didn’t know what it was. Over Tony’s shoulder, he saw Pepper shake her head, smiling as she mouthed the word ‘Jealous’.
……jealous? Why would Tony be jealous of Tasha? There’s no way all this flirting is for real.
Tony noticed where Clint‘s gaze was, and turned to Pepper, the look on his own face not very pleased. He hadn‘t seen what she said but obviously he wasn‘t happy about it nonetheless. “Yes, thank you, Pepper, I think we’re all set here.”
Still smiling, Pepper walked past them, rubbing Clint’s shoulder as she walked by. “Night, boys.”
Clint looked from Pepper back to Tony. The man still didn’t look fully happy. “……hey.” Tony looked at him. Clint drained his glass in one go. He barely tasted it, but it was one way to get Tony’s attention, and maybe get him back on track. He raised the empty glass, giving it a little shake. “….c’mon. Keep up.”
And there it was. The smile was back. “You got it.” And the glass was empty. Tony set it on the table. “Okay….well, we need to do something besides sit on the table all night. Or lurk at the bar.”
“I have no idea. Usually at these things I try to avoid reporters…unless they’re hot……and hang with the pretty girls. But I’ve got a date already.”
“Tony…..” But Clint didn’t feel like arguing the point this time. He wasn’t sure that Tony was joking. And, maybe even worse, Clint didn’t know for certain that he didn’t want to be Tony’s date. The thought was disconcerting.
“So……I vote we just sort of make the rounds……and drink heavily.”
Clint laughed. “I like the second part.”
“I thought you would.” Tony grabbed a banana from the table. “Well then, shall we?”
“…..with the banana?”
“Sure, they’re good.”
“I’ve eaten bananas, I know they’re good.”
“Then you should know why I’m bringing it with me.” He stuck the banana in his pocket and grabbed a second. “You want anything?”
Stifling a laugh, Clint shook his head. “Nah, I’m good.”
Again, that little half nod, half shrug. “Suit yourself. Okay, let’s hit the bar, then make the rounds.”
If the bartender was surprised to see Tony back so soon, he didn’t show it. “Two Wet Pussys, please.”
This time Clint did choke. “What the fuck?!”
Tony looked at Clint. “Problem?”
“I think you have some serious problems.”
“What is it with you and the sexual drinks?”
“Or you’re a pervert.”
“That too.” He accepted the drinks, handing over another outlandish tip, and handed one to Clint. The blonde shook his head at Tony.
“………ass.” But, sipping the drink, he had to admit Tony was right; it was good.
Tony had that tiny smirk on his face; he already knew what Clint was going to say.
“Ha. I’m right.”
“Okay, it’s good. Now shuttup.”
“You should know by now that I don’t do that.”
“Yeah, I’m beginning to see that.”
Tony had lead the way to the edge of the crowd. “Okay. Once more into the breach?”
Clint let out an exaggerated sigh. “If we must.”
They pushed their way into the crowd, Tony looking over his shoulder so he could speak to Clint as they walked. “You know, at this rate, we’re going to end up double-fisting within the hour.”
Tony stopped dead, turning to face Clint. “…….I meant the drinks. Double-fisting the drinks.”
“………oh.” Clint could feel his face turning red, and still redder as Tony’s grin grew. “……shuttup.”
“Hey! You’re the one who keeps making all these comments and ordering the dirty drinks. You’re corrupting my mind!”
“Oh, sure, like it’s so innocent to begin with.”
“What, now? Here?” Tony looked from side to side, at the crowd surrounding them. “I know I donate a lot of money, but I still don’t think that’ll fly. My car is just outside, though….”
Clint punched Tony’s shoulder, and the drink sloshed over the side, wetting his shoes. Tony glanced up at Clint.
“………see what you did? My nice shoes.”
“You were being an ass.”
“Propositioning you isn’t allowed?” Tony heaved an exaggerated sigh. “We’re going to have a difficult night, then. I doubt I’ll be able to stop myself from doing it again.” And, taking a sip of his drink, he began moving through the crowd again.
“…..I didn’t ruin your shoes, did I?”
“Ha, don’t worry about it. They’ll clean up just fine.”
Oh, God. Another reporter. Tony rolled his eyes at Clint, but his face was calm as he turned to the woman. Clint realized suddenly that both bananas were gone. Tony only had his drink in his hand. Did he eat it and I missed it?
“Mr. Stark, who’s your friend, here?”
“This is Ishmael Fujimoto.”
Clint somehow managed to turn his burst of laughter into an extremely loud cough. The woman reporter gave him a very odd look. “Well…….how did you and……Mr. Fujimoto……meet?”
“At a sumo wrestling exhibition in Scotland.”
“No, I’m totally shitting you. His name’s Clint, he works with SHIELD.”
Clint was actually glad Tony had fessed up; he felt as if he was going to explode from trying to hold back his laughter.
The reporter, on the other hand, didn’t look too pleased that Tony had been lying to her. “Oh.”
Tony either didn’t notice her irritation or, much more likely with Tony, didn’t care. And then he reached into his pocket, pulled out a banana, and began peeling it. The woman’s eyes widened, and if she had looked upset before, she looked doubly so now. Tony still didn’t react, simply began calmly eating his banana. “Yea. Should see him shoot a bow. It’s epically badass.”
The words “epically badass” elicited another snort of laughter, and Clint was done for. Tony and his banana had caught the attention of other nearby photographers, and they had begun to move closer. The reporter looked ready to explode with anger. Clint wasn’t even trying to hold back his laughter anymore; he wouldn’t have been successful, anyway. There were people taking pictures, and he knew what a sight the two of them must make: Tony with his banana, Clint doubled over laughing.
“If you excuse me, I think Clint is having a seizure. I’d better get him some vodka.” And he wrapped an arm around Clint’s shaking shoulders, guiding him through the crowd of reporters and photographers, weaving their way to the bar.
Clint practically collapsed onto a stool, stomach aching from the laughter. “Oh my God, Tony.”
Tony finally allowed himself a smile, that trademark grin, now that he was away from the press. “Yea?”
“You……oh my God. You are such an ass.”
“You know, you say that a lot.”
“Well, it bears repeating.”
Tony just grinned, finishing off his banana.
“…..epically badass?” Clint echoed.
“What…..you don’t like it?”
“You think I’m epically badass?”
“Indeed I do.”
“………….thanks.” He wasn’t quite sure what to say to that. It was hilarious on one hand, but an extremely cool compliment on the other.
“No need. It’s true.” Tony finished off his drink. “You’re way more badass than the rest of us. I mean, Steve and Bruce are genetically altered. Thor is a god. I’ve got a suit of armor that can die at any second if this,” he tapped his chest, and Clint could hear the tiny noise of the metal disk in his chest, “gets damaged. In which case I die, too, so I guess that point’s moot. You and Tasha are the only ones who rely completely on your physical strength, on skills you acquired yourselves. And honestly, you’re much more badass than Tasha. She’s good, but…..you’re more impressive.”
Clint didn’t know what to say. “…….I……“ He sat silent, at a loss for words. “…….thanks,” he said at last. “That….that really means a lot.”
Tony smiled. “Are we having a bonding moment? Should we hug it out?”
Clint laughed. “I’m serious.”
“So am I.” Tony held out his arms, grinning. “Hug?”
Clint burst out laughing. “Ass.” But, and he couldn’t have said why, he leaned forward into Tony’s arms, hugging him back. Tony still had that calming warmth Clint had noticed earlier. It was strange how comfortable it was to embrace him. Clint didn’t know who was more surprised by the hug, him or Tony. By the look on Tony’s face when they pulled apart, he would guess it was Tony.
“…….wow.” Tony was now the one at a loss for words. “……I honestly wasn’t expecting you to actually give me a hug.”
“Ah….yeah.” Clint gave a little laugh. “Sorry?”
“……are you actually sorry?”
“Oh, good.” There was a pause, and then Tony punched Clint’s shoulder.
“Don’t apologize for things you’re not sorry for! Geez.” He shifted on his barstool, turning slightly away from Clint, more towards the bar itself. “….make me worry.”
Clint was starting to come to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, Tony might actually be flirting for real. Not just teasing, but actually flirting. Whether his feelings were real or just a passing fling, that would remain to be seen. But it was becoming obvious that, one way or another, Tony was interested. The knowledge created a strange feeling deep in Clint’s gut. A churning, unsettled feeling, not altogether unpleasant, but utterly confusing. He wasn’t sure how to deal with the situation, with trying to sort through his own feelings for Tony. There was obviously only one solution: get heavily drunk.
“Ah……you said something about drinking heavily?”
Tony laughed. “I did indeed. So, what’ll it be?”
“If it follows the same pattern as the rest of this evening, I’m assuming it’ll be something extremely perverse sounding.”
Tony sighed, shaking his head. “You are no fun whatsoever.”
“Then why’d you invite me?”
“Technically, you invited me.”
“True. Why’d I do that?”
“God only knows. I’m a horrible date.”
“Oh, I don’t know. You let me throw grapes at you.”
“This is true.” Tony drummed his fingers on the bar, contemplating. “…..how about some Wild Sex?”
Clint sighed. “Sure.”
“Really? Okay, where do you wanna do this? My car IS right outside, or, if you wanna be REALLY kinky, we could do it right here on the bar…..”
Clint punched Tony yet again. “Fucker.”
“Hey, you’re the one who agreed.”
“You knew exactly what I was agreeing to.”
“So you say….” Tony turned to the bartender, who was waiting. If the man was at all fazed by their conversation, he wasn’t showing it.
“Two, please.” The drinks were ready within a minute.
“Geez, it must be nice to be you.”
“Hmm?” Tony looked up at Clint over the rim of his glass. “What’re you talking about?”
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a drink at a bar? You practically have to shank someone just to make it through the crowd, to say nothing of getting the damn bartender’s attention.”
Tony grinned. “You could just flash him.”
Clint glared. “Be serious.”
“I am! A body like that…..you’d be set all night.”
“You’re such a fucking pain in the ass.” All the drinks of the day were beginning to set in and Clint could feel his head getting a little fuzzy. It was a nice feeling.
“Yea. Hey. Hey.” Tony had spun on his stool so he was facing Clint, leaning on the bar. He gestured towards the reporter they had just spoken to. “…how much do you think that woman hates me right now?”
Clint snorted. “Oh, man. She was so pissed.”
“Ha.” Tony tossed back the rest of his drink. If Clint was feeling buzzed, he had no clue what Tony must feel like. “Her own damn fault. You know, these things….the galas…..are fun….but I have to say….it is infinitely more entertaining with you here.”
That pleased Clint more than he thought it should. “Yeah?”
Tony nodded. “Yea. I’ve had more fun with you today than I’ve had in……hell. I don’t know.”
Clint had a funny feeling in his stomach. Heavily drunk, he reminded himself. He quickly tossed back the rest of his drink, taking a deep breath. “I think we need some shots.”
Tony’s brows shot up; he smiled. “Yea? What’re you thinking? Vodka? Tequila?”
If Tony had looked surprised before, Clint didn’t know how to describe his expression now. His brows were practically invisible in his hairline. “…..both?”
“Fuck yeah.” Clint gestured to the bar. “Line ‘em up.”
Tony gestured the bartender over. “Shots. Three vodka, three tequila. Each.”
This time, the bartender was too surprised not to speak up. “…….together?” He stared at them. “You want the vodka and the tequila together?”
“…….yes. That’s why I ordered them together.” Tony spoke slowly as though speaking to a dimwitted child. The man nodded and moved off. Clint snickered.
“Hey, it should’ve been obvious.”
“Well, it IS a pretty nasty mix.”
“Hey, YOU wanted it.”
“Even though it’s nasty?”
“Oh, ‘ass-nasty’, is it?”
“Is that a technical term?”
“Yup. Learned it in SHIELD.”
“Dammit. How come I’m left out of the loop?”
“Cuz Fury and Coulson don’t like you.”
“….this is true.”
“Maybe if you weren’t such an obnoxious bastard.”
“Hey, just because they can’t handle my winning personality….”
The bartender returned with a tray, the shot glasses on it, as well as the slices of lime and the salt shakers that accompanied the tequila.
Clint looked to Tony. “……how do you want to do this?”
“….well. I say let’s make it as ‘ass-nasty’ as possible and alternate. One vodka, one tequila, and so on.”
“…….you’re right. That really IS disgusting.”
Clint laughed. “I should never have said that, should I.”
“Nope. I’m not gonna stop using it now.”
“God.” Clint reached for one of the salt shakers, and a slice of lime.
“Wait.” Tony paused, holding his own slice of lime.
“……we need some sort of bet.”
“Bet?” Oh dear. Tony had a look on his face, pondering. “……..oh, this cannot be good.”
“Oh, come on. We race to see who finishes first, and the loser has to do…….something.”
“……yeah, I really don’t like where this is going.”
“….so, do you wanna leave it open ended? Like, whoever wins can pick what they want the prize to be?”
Clint’s answer came immediately. “No.”
Tony looked legitimately surprised, which Clint did not understand at ALL. He thought it should be obvious why that was a bad idea. “What? Why?”
“Because you are evil and I do not trust you not to do something horrible to me.”
Tony’s hand flew to his heart, innocent surprise going to his face. “You wound me.”
“And now you call me a liar.” Tony sighed, shaking his head. “You’re so mean to me.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
“Okay, then…..do you have any ideas for a bet?”
“……….I think the bet is a really bad plan.”
Immediately Clint’s fighting spirit roared to life. “I am NOT a wuss!”
Tony grinned. “Are too. Why else would you be refusing the challenge?”
Oh, no way. Clint Barton never backed down from a challenge. “…….fine. Name your bet.”
Tony was silent for a long moment, thinking. “……okay. I’ve got another gala in about a month. You come with me.”
Clint was shocked. He’d been expecting something far worse than that. He also couldn’t help feeling a little touched. The fact that, out of everything he could choose, Tony had chosen to ask Clint to another gala…….that was special.
But Tony wasn’t done yet. He smiled. “……and you wear the cravat.”
Clint burst out laughing. “Okay, okay, fine.” Tony was grinning, and Clint couldn’t help but mirror the expression. “Honestly, I was expecting something much worse.”
“Oh yea?” Tony’s smile grew, and there was something a bit unreadable in his eyes, something a bit wicked. “Maybe later.”
“…….I don’t like that look in your eyes…”
“Oh?” Tony just smiled. “Suck it up.” He picked up the first shot glass of vodka. “…you ready?”
Clint raised his own shot glass, looking at it and sighing. “….God, this is going to be so disgusting.”
Tony laughed. “I say again, your fault. You chose it.”
“Don’t remind me. Okay. Ready?”
The two alcohols made a truly revolting combination. Clint wasn’t sure how he was even keeping it all down. Why the hell did I choose to do this? He banged the final glass down on the table and opened his eyes, looked over. Tony was watching him, amusement on his face, all six glasses empty.
“……do you always shut your eyes when you do shots?”
Clint hadn’t even realized he had. But he thought for a minute. “……maybe? I don’t know. Shuttup.”
Tony laughed. “Hey, it’s cool. It’s actually kinda cute.”
Clint could feel his cheeks flush. He picked up a slice of lime from the counter. “I will throw this at you.”
Tony just laughed again. “You will not.”
Tony grinned. Clint just shook his head. The bartender was attempting to clean up the mess they had made. Clint noticed that several lime slices had landed on the floor at their feet.
Tony grimaced. “My mouth tastes nasty.”
“Ha. Yea. Nice drink choice.”
“Thanks.” The aftertaste of the alcohol really was gross. He realized that Tony was looking intently at him. “……what.”
“Nothing. You’ve got a little….” the brunette reached out, thumb gently brushing away some lime juice from beside Clint’s lip. “……lime juice.”
Clint’s face was burning. He hoped he wasn’t as red as he felt. “……thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Oh, thank you.” The bartender had set down two glasses of water. “Get rid of this damn aftertaste.” He took a sip. “…..never make a suggestion like that again.”
Clint laughed. “Can’t make any promises.”
“I guess if it does the trick, we’re okay.”
“Mm.” Clint’s emotions were still running wild, stomach flip-flopping. If anything, it had only grown worse. He prayed that the alcohol would kick in quickly, and that things would become easier to understand.
“Have you heard that quote,” he spoke up suddenly, not knowing what possessed him to do so. “Drunken actions are sober thoughts?”
Tony looked at him, surprised. “……yea. I have.”
“…..what do you think about it?”
Tony was quiet for a moment, simply looking at Clint. “……I think there’s some merit to it.”
Tony didn‘t speak up immediately, and when he did, his voice was unusually quiet for him. “……..why…..what do you think?”
Clint was silent for a long moment. “…….I’m not sure.” He looked up at Tony. “…….I have a feeling I’m going to find out.”