Tony’s eyes were slightly glassy from all the alcohol he’d had that evening, but they were dead serious, his cheeks flushed not with drink but with something else…..was it nervousness Clint saw there?
Clint had no idea how long it had been since the shots, or how many drinks he and Tony had consumed since then, only that his head was spinning in an extremely pleasant way, and that the weight of Tony’s body leaning against his own felt ridiculously good. They were both laughing, he had no idea what about, but it didn’t matter. He had a drink in his hand. He didn’t know what it was. He realized that he really had no idea what was going on at all. But with that thought came the knowledge that it didn’t really matter. He was having more fun than he’d had in….well….longer than he could remember. And Tony was there.
Tony’s hand grabbed his shoulder. “Hey…..there’s Coulson.”
Clint looked around the room. “What…..where?”
“There!” Tony pointed, which still didn’t really help, since his hand was none too steady, the gesture wavering. He almost lost his balance on his stool, hand gripping Clint’s shoulder tighter to steady himself, and Clint almost giggled.
“Shuttup. Do you see him?”
“He’s right there!”
“……..oh! Oh yeah!” It was hard to see through the crowd, but Coulson was there, his usual enigmatic smile in place. A sudden thought hit, and Clint grabbed Tony’s arm. “Dude….dude. Give him a Panty Hamster.”
Tony burst out laughing. “Oh my God. Do you think he’d kill me? I think he’d kill me.”
“So what? It’d be HILARIOUS!”
“So what?! I mean, YEA it’d be hilarious, but “so what”? THAT’S your reaction to Coulson killing me?”
“You know what I meant!”
“Tch, right, sure. You just want me dead.”
“Shuttup, you know that’s not true.”
“If you say so.”
“Tony, I’m gonna kill you.”
“See? You’re not even gonna wait for Coulson to do it, you’re just gonna do it yourself.”
“Tony, shut up. You’re awesome and I love you and you know it.”
“Ooooh!” Tony turned to face Clint, smile lighting up his face. “You LOVE me?”
Clint knew he should be embarrassed, but he was too drunk. He rolled his eyes. “Oh, yeah. Desperately.”
Clint just shook his head, grinning. “Such an ass.”
“Yup. So….” he looked at Clint. “…..Panty Hamster?”
“Heh. Yeah. Sounds like a good plan.”
“….actually, it sounds like a TERRIBLE plan. But we should do it anyway.” He turned to the bartender. “One Panty Hamster, please?”
Clint snickered. “Oh, man.”
Tony grinned at him. “What.”
“This. This is gonna be EPIC.”
“I think this may result in my death.”
“Yeah, but you’ll go out with a bang.”
“Tales will be told of this day.”
“Epic poems written of your glorious death.”
“Sounds good.” Tony rose, hand still using Clint’s shoulder to steady himself. “Okay……come on. You’re coming with me.”
“Oh, am I?” Clint had planned on going, but he just had to push at that authoritative tone in Tony’s voice.
“Yea. I may need protection, and you’re trained in combat.”
Clint cracked up. “Dude, first of all, I’m drunk off my ass. Secondly, it’s Coulson. I don’t think anyone but Fury knows for sure what he’s capable of.”
“…………that’s even more reason why you’re coming with me.”
“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
The crowd parted for them, letting them pass easily. The attention had grown ten-fold since they had gotten drunk, and in that drunkenness, gotten louder, but for the first time that night, Clint couldn’t give a damn. They reached Coulson without a problem.
Coulson turned towards them, his face still wearing that smooth, mysterious smile, even though Clint would wager a guess that the mere sound of Tony’s voice was like nails on a chalkboard to him. “Hello, gentlemen.”
“How’re you enjoying the evening?”
“Oh, it’s very nice.”
“Glad to hear it.” Tony held out the glass. “Got you a drink.”
“Oh?” Coulson’s voice had a slight question to it, but he accepted the drink nonetheless. “Thank you.” He took a sip, pausing as he considered the taste. Clint was biting his lip to hold back his laughter; he didn’t know how he hadn’t split it yet, he was biting so hard. He had no idea how Tony was keeping a straight face.
“……this is very good. What is it?”
“It’s called a Panty Hamster.”
There was silence. Coulson slowly turned to look at Tony, at Clint. Clint knew that look. He grabbed Tony’s arm.
“Oh, shit, he’s pissed. Run!”
The two men ran, crashing into people in the crowd as they fled Coulson’s wrath, laughing. Tony stumbled and fell behind. When he looked up, Clint was gone. “What the fuck? Clint, you asshole!”
Clint snickered from his hiding place in the rafters above, watching Tony. The brunette plopped down onto a bar stool, pouting. “Asshole,” he repeated. The bartender tapped him on the shoulder. “What.” Silently, discreetly, the man pointed upwards. Tony looked where the man was pointing, and saw Clint, who grinned and waved. “You motherfucker!” Clint only laughed. “I swear to God….” He turned to the bartender. “Thanks. Hey, I need one more drink….”
Clint settled down to get comfortable. He always had felt safer in high places, and Coulson‘s wrath was definitely something to hide from. He felt bad leaving Tony, but he hadn’t realized that the man had fallen behind until he was too far away, and the crowd had closed between them.
Speaking of Tony……the man was no longer at the bar. Clint had looked away for an instant, and the man had vanished.
“Looking for me?”
Clint whirled around. Tony was behind him. He smiled. “Yeah.”
“You LEFT me!”
“Hey, Coulson won’t kill YOU. You’re technically still a civilian. ME, on the other hand….”
“I can’t believe you LEFT me.” Tony shook his head, sighing. “And to think I brought you a drink.”
For the first time, Clint noticed the glass in Tony’s hand. “…..how the hell did you get a drink up here?”
Tony smirked. “Cuz I’m awesome.”
“No, seriously, what the fuck.”
“I’ve got moves you’ve never seen.”
“I could show you some.”
“I bet you could.”
Tony arched a brow at that. “Really.”
Clint felt a little flush at the expression on Tony‘s face, the tone of his voice. “…….maybe…..” He still wasn’t quite sure how he felt about this whole situation, but Tony was definitely having an effect on him. The man smiled, moving closer, holding out the glass. Clint accepted it.
“So, what is it this time?”
Tony sat down beside him…..right beside him. Clint could feel Tony‘s leg against his, their knees bumping. It was nice. “It’s called Sex with Tony.”
Clint cracked up laughing; he gave Tony a shove. “That is NOT a drink.”
“Okay, it’s really called Sex with Jennifer, but Sex with Tony is INFINITELY more fun, believe me.”
“Oh, I think I do.” He looked at Tony, a smile on his face, and couldn’t miss the quiet surprise there in those brown eyes. Silence fell between them. Clint wasn’t sure if he had gone too far. Those words had been a very big step for him, but he had to say them. For some reason, it had felt right.
“…….can I have a sip of that?”
“What? Oh.” Clint had forgotten all about the drink in his hand. He smiled. “The Sex with Tony?”
Tony chuckled. “Yeah. That.” Clint offered it, and Tony took a sip…..more than a sip, really. He looked as if he were looking for a shot of courage. It was strange.
Clint looked down at the room below them. He still had no idea how Tony had gotten up there. As far as he knew, the man didn’t have an spectacular climbing skills, but he seemed to have gotten up there without any difficulty, AND without anyone noticing. At least, none of the guests were looking up at the rafters. No one seemed to know they were there.
“Would it be weird if I told you I loved you?”
Clint’s head whipped around so fast that he nearly fell from the rafters. Putting out a hand to steady himself, he stared at Tony. The man’s eyes were slightly glassy from all the alcohol he’d had that evening, but they were dead serious, his cheeks flushed not with drink but with something else…..was it nervousness Clint saw there?
“……yes,” he said at last. “That would be extremely weird.”
“Ah.” Tony nodded and looked back at the drink in his lap, taking a sip. The noise below seemed miles away. They were in their own little bubble, and the silence between them seemed so fragile, breakable.
“……but…you can say it anyway.”
Those brown eyes snapped up to stare at Clint, who flushed beneath that gaze. “….I mean……if you mean it. I can’t guarantee that I’ll believe you, but…”
Tony paused. “……you don’t believe me?”
“……you haven’t said anything yet.”
If Tony noticed the way that Clint had avoided his question, he didn’t comment on it. He reached out, hand shaking. It hadn’t been mere seconds before, so this was definitely not the effect of the booze. Tony was nervous. That was not like him at all. Slim graceful fingers gently stroked Clint’s hair, brushing a lock behind his ear and trailing down the soft hairs at the nape of his neck. Clint shivered. And then Tony’s lips were on his and he was being kissed, not hard and forceful like he would have expected but soft, so soft and tenderly and he sat frozen, his hands at his sides, not knowing what to do. Tony pulled away slowly, taking his time, as if…. As if he thinks this is the only chance he’s going to get. Brown eyes opened, meeting blue, and Clint still couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but stare into those warm brown eyes.
“…..I love you.”
Clint had no idea how to respond. “…….I……” He couldn’t break that gaze, staring into Tony’s eyes. “……..thanks?” He winced inwardly. That was so not the right response. But Tony didn’t seem to mind. He chuckled.
Clint shook his head, wanting to explain, trying to think how to tell Tony that he didn’t NOT love him, that he just didn’t know HOW he felt, but he couldn’t find the words, and then Tony spoke up.
“But I do mean it, though. I hope you realize that. Eventually.” He looked at Clint, smiling. “…..now……you think it’s safe down there? Or you think Coulson’s still out to kill us?”
Clint still wanted to explain, but it was clear that Tony wanted to avoid the conversation for the time being. He forced a smile. “We’re probably safe for now.”
“Okay. Well…….let’s find our way down.”
That reminded him. “……how the hell did you even get UP here?”
Tony grinned. “I’m badass.”
“Tony, I’m serious.”
“Well, it wasn’t super easy. I’m thinking maybe I should install a rock-wall. You know…..for future adventures.”
“……you’re so weird.”
“What…..you think it’ll clash with the décor?”
“Yeah, I think it’ll definitely look a bit out of place.”
“Aww, that’s too bad. Okay…..so get me down.”
“Only if you ask nicely.”
“Hmm……I guess that’s a start.”
Tony’s hands found the lapels of Clint’s jacket, stroking them, then gently tugging him closer. “…….pretty please?” His voice was soft, he looked at Clint through his lashes.
Clint swallowed hard. “………yeah. I can do that.” Tony smiled at him.
“So…..how do we do this.”
“….well……” He looked at the glass in Tony’s hand. “……you better hold onto that. I still have no fucking clue how you got it up here in the first place.”
“Told you……I’m awesome. And I’ve got awesome moves.”
“Ah, I forgot.”
“How could you.”
“I have no idea.” He moved carefully, reaching for Tony’s hand. “Here……come on.”
Tony accepted, watching closely as Clint maneuvered his way down, following carefully in his footsteps. “So…..this is how you did it.”
“You’re really good at this stuff.”
“Heh. I’ve always felt better in high places.”
“S’that where the name ‘Hawkeye’ came from?”
“Sort of.” His hands on Tony’s waist, he gently lifted him, carefully setting him on the ground.
Tony smiled at him. “Thanks.” And even though their feet were on the ground, Clint couldn’t bring himself to let go of Tony’s waist. He stared into Tony’s eyes. They were like pools that he could drown in.
“……I don’t want to stop you……the last thing I want to do is stop you, but…….people are gonna notice us in a minute, if we stay here like this.”
Oh. OH. Clint jumped, pulling away quickly. Too late, he realized how bad that must have looked, pulling away like that. “I….sorry. I didn’t mean…”
“I know. It’s a huge fucking crowd.” Tony’s smile returned, looking natural once again. “Hey, c’mon. Let’s go get another drink.”
Clint smiled. “Sounds good.”
They emerged from the shadows, and all eyes were immediately on them once more. Clint tried to ignore them as before, but it was harder after all that had just happened between the two of them. But then they reached the bar and Tony flopped back onto a stool, spinning in a circle, and it was impossible not to smile while watching him.
Tony spun about to face Clint again, smiling as he leaned back against the bar. “So……any more drinks you want to try?”
“Uhhh……” Clint wracked his brain. “……..I don’t remember.”
Tony laughed. “That’s okay. The list should still be on my phone.” He patted at his pockets, searching for it. “…..oh. Do you still have it?”
“….um…” But before Clint could answer, Tony was reaching into his pockets. Clint jumped. “Hey!”
“What?” Tony pulled the phone out of Clint’s right jacket pocket.
Clint shook his head. “Nothing. Ass.”
“No, that was your hip. Your ass is back here.” Tony reached around Clint and patted his backside.
“Hey!” Clint punched Tony’s shoulder. “What the fuck?”
“OW!” Tony rubbed his shoulder. “Will you stop punching me? I’m gonna have the biggest fucking bruise tomorrow!”
“Don’t grab my ass!”
“I didn’t. I patted it. I can grab it, if you like. You know….to show you the difference.”
“That’s okay.” He grabbed the phone from Tony, avoiding the man’s gaze, trying to hide the blush that had risen to his cheeks. “…..okay, what about this one?”
Tony leaned in, looking at the phone. “…..Chupacabra?”
Tony took the phone, reading the list of items that went into the drink. “Tequila…..grenadine…..lime juice….” He looked up at Clint. “……this sounds fucking disgusting.”
“Yeah, but it has an awesome name.”
“…..THAT’S why you want to drink it?”
Tony shook his head, but he was grinning. “Ass.” He turned to the bartender. “Can we get a Chupacabra, please?”
“What…..you’re not trying it?”
“Hell no. That’s gross.”
“That’s supposed to goad you into drinking it!”
Tony laughed. “Oh, is that right?”
“Too bad. It’s not gonna work.”
Clint pouted. “Asshole.”
“Ha. Call me whatever you like, I’m not drinking that shit.”
“Mr. Stark!” Another reporter was waving him down. Tony sighed. “Okay, I’m going to go deal with this shit. You enjoy your drink.” Tony pushed a wad of bills across the counter to the bartender.
“Alright.” Clint accepted the drink. “Hurry back.” He was surprised to discover just how much he meant it. He sure as hell didn’t want to deal with another reporter, but he didn’t want Tony to leave his side. At all.
Tony smiled. “Will do.” And he got up and moved to the reporter.
Clint watched him go. The reporter was smiling, and gesturing his way. Clearly their activities had been noted. Somehow he couldn’t find it in himself to care any longer. If they wanted to stare, let them stare.
He took a sip of the drink and nearly gagged. Tony had been right. The drink was one of the most disgusting things he’d ever tasted. “Fuck.”
“Damn!” He hadn’t even realized Tony had come back. He shook his head. “You were right. This IS disgusting.”
“Oh yea?” Tony looked at the drink for a moment, considering, then “..….here.” He grabbed the lapel of Clint’s jacket again, tugging him off his stool.
“……where are we….”
Tony dragged Clint behind the bar, into a waiter’s entrance that Clint hadn’t even noticed. He was vaguely disappointed in himself. Usually he was totally aware of his surroundings. Then again, usually he wasn’t with Tony Stark. But he couldn’t think about that. Tony still had his collar, was glancing around, making sure no one was within view.
And then Tony was kissing him, tongue slipping past his lips, delving into his mouth, tasting him. Clint made a little noise of shock, nearly dropping the glass in his surprise.
Tony pulled away slowly. “Hmm…..you were right. It IS disgusting.”
Clint stared. He didn’t have any response at all.
Tony cocked his head. “……what.”
Clint shook himself, fumbling for some kind of answer. “…….the glass.” He held out the glass. “The glass is right here. It’s right here.” He shook it, the drink almost sloshing over the side. “Take the glass. THE GLASS.”
Tony didn’t say anything, but Clint could see him struggling to suppress a smile. He accepted the glass and tossed the drink back in one gulp. “…….it tasted better my way.”
Clint’s face flushed. “…….you…….you’re so…..”
Clint couldn’t help but grin. “You’re something, alright.”
Tony laughed. “I’m going to take that as a compliment.”
Both men turned. There was a waiter looking at them. Clint prayed to God that the man hadn’t been there long.
“…..did you need some help?” If the man had seen the kiss, he had an extremely good poker face. His expression was all calm politeness.
“No, thank you, we’re just fine.” Tony turned to Clint, smiling. “Shall we?”
“Yeah, please.” He let Tony usher him out the door, back into the party. “…..I think I need another drink,” he muttered under his breath.
“Yea……something that doesn’t suck.”
Clint laughed. “Yeah. That would be good.”
The two men turned at the interruption, and Tony’s eyes immediately narrowed. “….Pepper, I thought we were done for the night.”
“Well, I hoped I could borrow Clint for a few minutes.”
Clint glanced at Tony, who was still glaring daggers at Pepper. “Um……sure…?”
Pepper smiled at Tony. “Go get yourself a drink. I’ll have him back to you within ten minutes.”
Clint didn’t understand what was going on, but Pepper was certainly amused. He followed her as Tony made his way to the bar.
“Okay, Miss Potts. What’s this all about?”
“What are you referring to, Agent Barton?”
“This. This whole evening. You know something and you’re refusing to share.”
“I think you know exactly what’s going on. And you’re refusing to admit it to yourself.”
Clint was silent, simply staring at Pepper. “…….what do you want? Why did you want me to come over here?”
“Can you bring Tony home tonight?”
……that was totally unexpected. “…..well…..I came here with him……so I assumed we‘d be going home together….” And that sounded totally inappropriate. Like they were a couple. He suppressed the little tug of heat that rolled through his gut.
“I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. I wanted to make certain, though. And you may need to drive.”
“Why would I need to….” He saw that Pepper was looking pointedly over his shoulder, and he turned. A row of shot glasses lined the bar in front of Tony….empty shot glasses, all upside-down, and Tony was currently tossing back the last drink. “…..oh, fuck.”
“Yes. Looks like he’s having a little liquid courage.”
“Since when has Tony ever lacked courage?”
“Since he met you.” Pepper patted Clint on the shoulder. “He doesn’t get drunk very easily, but I think you better go deal with him.”
Clint sighed. “Well, if you hadn’t dragged me away, there wouldn’t be a problem at all.” Turning, he returned to the bar, grabbing Tony’s shoulder. Tony turned, smiling brilliantly when he saw who it was.
“Okay, I think you’ve had enough.”
“I got you a drink.”
“Okay, thanks. But I’m cutting you off.”
“That’s not really fair.”
“Tony…..you just did six shots. No more for you.”
Tony pouted. “Party pooper.”
Clint laughed. “No, that’s Pepper, remember.”
Immediately, Tony glowered. “Stupid Pepper. What’d she want?”
“She wanted to make sure I’d drive you home.” Clint sat down beside Tony.
“Yea? You’re driving me home?”
“Of course I am….” Clint glanced over, and was taken aback by just how big the smile on Tony’s face was.
Clint couldn’t help laughing. “I’m glad you think so.” He picked up the drink Tony had bought for him. “So…..what perverted name does THIS one have?”
Tony grinned. “Death of a Virgin.”
Clint just shook his head. “Ass.”
“Hey……I thought it might be appropriate for this evening.” Those eyes were dark and full of that same mysterious heat, and Clint flushed.
“…….I don’t know that ‘virgin’ is quite accurate……”
“Oh? In this situation?”
The meaning was clear. Tony wanted to know if Clint had been with another man before. He felt the heat rising, creeping up his throat, his cheeks. He was definitely not going to touch that question.
“…….I think maybe we should get going home.”
“Yea? You bored?”
“No. Not bored.” Just the opposite. He didn’t know how much more he could handle. All he wanted was to push Tony up against a wall and kiss him senseless. And this was NOT the place to do it.
He took the drink and drank it in one swallow. He didn’t even taste it. “Come on. Let’s go.”
“Yeah.” Clint took Tony’s arm, gently tugging him to his feet. Tony tripped, stumbling into him. Fuck. He IS drunk. People were staring again.
“You need my keys?
Oh, yeah. “Yeah, thanks. Where are they?”
Dammit. He reached around Tony and into his back pocket. Nothing. He checked the other side. Still nothing. “……Tony….”
The man grinned. “Yea, I was kidding. They’re in my jacket.”
“I seriously hate you sometimes.” Clint fished into Tony’s pocket, pulling out the keys. People were watching him, whispering, obviously intrigued at the way he had just appeared to be groping Tony’s ass. Dear God, somebody shoot me now.
They stumbled down the front steps. The valets saw them coming and hurried off. Immediately, one came driving up in the Audi. Clint stopped and stared at Tony.
“………I didn’t need your keys. The valets had your car keys.”
“…….I groped your ass….in front of a thousand people……for no reason.”
“Oh, don’t pretend you didn’t love it.” Tony’s face was so close to his, smiling. Clint could feel that lovely body heat. He turned away, but Tony was still so close, breath warm against his cheek. “You sure I can’t drive?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. Think you’ve had just a few too many.”
He managed to get Tony buckled into the car without too much difficulty. As usual, Tony felt the need to be obnoxious and argue with him, but it didn’t take too much to get him to behave and get them on their way.
Speaking of Tony…..the man was unusually silent. Clint glanced over and saw those big brown eyes watching him, shining in the dark, an enigmatic smile on his face.
“Nothing.” Yet still Clint could feel Tony’s gaze on him as they sped down the road. “……so………what’re you gonna do with me when you get me home.”
Clint was silent for a long time. He didn’t know how to answer that question. Finally, he decided to just answer truthfully. “……I don’t know.”
“Don’t know, huh?“ Clint didn’t look at Tony, but he was positive that the man was smiling. “….I can work with that.”