Tony glanced at Clint, smiling. It was more of a smirk, actually. A wicked, wicked smirk. God, it was sexy. Everything Tony did was sexy.
They pulled into SHIELD headquarters at ten minutes after 12. Coulson had called them at around eleven. He’s gonna be so pissed. Still, Clint couldn’t really find it in him to care. Tony had made him breakfast. The memory of Tony’s homemade banana pancakes still filled Clint with little flutters of happiness. He didn’t think anyone had ever made him breakfast before. Well, his mom when he was little, but that had been YEARS ago. And no one Clint had dated had ever cooked for him, that he was damn sure of.
The car screeched to a halt. Somehow, despite the way Tony drove (which could only be described as “horrible”…..the man didn’t seem to know what a speed limit was), the car ended up perfectly parked, straight as could be within the lines of the parking space. Maybe he wasn’t such a horrible driver after all…..maybe “reckless” was more the word.
But Clint was stirred from his thoughts as Tony nudged him. “Oi. Gotta get going. Unless you REALLY want Coulson to explode.”
“Ugh. Definitely not.”
The two headed into the building, and were immediately greeted by Coulson, who did not at all look pleased to be kept waiting. His gaze fell upon them, and he was silent, just looking. His eyes took in the two of them, traveling slowly over Clint, starting at his feet and moving upward, taking in the suit, slightly wrinkled from lying on the floor all night, the shirtsleeves rolled up in an attempt to make it look more casual, Clint’s messy hair and the night’s growth of stubble. Then those eyes locked with Clint’s, and it was immediately obvious. Coulson knew. He knew exactly what had happened.
Clint flushed beneath that knowing gaze. “Ah……good morning, sir.”
“Good afternoon, Agent Barton.”
Clint winced inwardly, hearing the vague inflection in Coulson’s voice as he corrected Clint, making it quite obvious that Clint was incorrect, that it was afternoon, not morning, that Clint was LATE. There was more behind that calm façade……disappointment. And it wasn’t hard to see why, for now Coulson’s gaze had fallen on Tony, and the disapproval couldn’t have been more obvious. Coulson clearly wasn’t pleased in Clint’s choice of partner. Clint felt a little surge of irritation. Tony was a good guy. Coulson could go shove it.
“Well then, don’t we have a meeting or something to get to?” Tony, of course, didn’t seem to give a damn about the completely awkward atmosphere surrounding them. “What’s with all this standing around, Coulson?”
Oh God. Clint didn’t know whether to laugh or duck for cover. Tony really didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.
Amazingly, Coulson didn’t kill Tony. He just looked like he was going to, the expression in his eyes one that would appear totally normal to most people, but to someone who knew him, like Clint, it was a look of pure hatred. The Death Glare. “This way, gentlemen.” And Coulson turned on his heel, heading down the hallway.
Tony glanced at Clint, eyes twinkling, and Clint couldn’t help but smile, shaking his head. “Ass.”
Tony laughed at that. “C’mon, ‘Agent Barton’, we’ve got a meeting to attend.” And he headed down the hallway after Coulson, leaving Clint to follow behind him.
Everyone else was already assembled, seated around the table…..Tasha, Steve, Bruce, and Thor. Coulson was still standing, waiting by the door, still looking incredibly displeased with the two of them.
“Hey, Tony.” Bruce was smiling.
“Hey, Bruce. You get those parts I sent over?”
“Yeah, thanks. They really helped.”
“Good. You finish up yet?”
“Not quite. There were more problems than I expected. I had to recalibrate the last several steps and start over.”
Clint felt a little twinge of jealousy. The two men were so at ease with each other, and talking about things that he would never understand. “Hey.” He caught the edge of Tony’s sleeve, tugging. Tony looked at him, surprised. “C’mon. Gotta start the meeting. Sit.”
“Yeah, okay.” Tony moved towards a chair beside Bruce, but Clint tugged harder, pulling Tony around the table, all the way to the other side, far away from Bruce. He sat down in the nearest empty chair and yanked Tony down into the chair beside him. Tony looked at Clint, surprise on his face, but he smiled.
“Gonna manhandle me, huh?” God, that smile was beautiful. “I like it.”
Clint flushed. “Shut up.”
“Gentlemen.” Coulson’s voice was dripping irritation. “If you’re quite comfortable, we can start.”
Tony pulled a face at Coulson, and Clint had to fight hard to bite back a snort of laughter. He could sense someone watching him, and he glanced across the table.
It was Natasha. Her gaze was very steady, and it was immediately clear that she was studying him.
Clint couldn’t help it. “What.” He demanded.
The corners of Tasha’s mouth turned up ever so slightly in the smallest of smirks. “Nice suit.”
Clint glowered at her. “Shut the hell up.”
“Oh no, I’m completely serious. Looks good. Stark pick that out for you?”
At that, Clint flushed, and Natasha’s smile grew. It was obvious that he had just given himself away completely. If Natasha hadn’t known before what had happened between him and Tony, she sure as hell knew now. Clint wasn’t going to let her laugh like that.
“As a matter of fact, he did. We went to the Abbington Gala last night.”
“How sweet.” God, that smile could be so damn annoying. That is, unless Clint was in on the joke…….preferably helping Tasha in planning the prank, and putting it into action. Then it was okay. Right now, he just wanted to wipe it off her face.
“This gala,” Thor’s voice startled Clint out of his thoughts. “Was there fighting?”
Clint stared blankly at Thor. “……..fighting?”
“You have bruises on your neck. True, they are unlike any marks known to me, but I cannot imagine a cause other than fighting.”
Clint was completely confused. “….bruises?” Then it all came flooding back. Their second round of sex last night. Tony’s mouth on his throat, nipping at his flesh. Damn, it had felt good. But it had definitely been hard enough to leave marks. He hadn’t thought to check. Fuck.
Clint glanced at Tony. Tony was looking back at him with big, innocent eyes. Right. Like anyone was going to fall for that act. But Tony was in the same situation, purple marks marring his throat. Fuck fuck fuck. Everyone in the room (well, everyone but Thor, apparently……and possibly Steve, freaking boy scout virgin that he was) knew what they were, but Clint would be damned if he was going to come right out and say it, not before they had even told everyone that they were a couple.
Somehow, in the middle of all these jumbled thoughts, Clint realized how patient Tony was being. He was letting Clint take the reins, decide how much time he needed, decide when and how to tell everyone about their new relationship. And, despite the fact that Thor was waiting expectantly for an answer, that Tasha was smirking at him, that Coulson looked ready to shoot someone, Clint still had time to feel a wave of gratitude to Tony. He found Tony’s hand under the table and gave it a squeeze, and it helped him sort through his thoughts and find an answer for Thor…..albeit a totally random and bullshit one.
“Yes. Yes, there was a fight. Not at the gala……it…..there was……when I drove Tony home….”
“Ah, you drove him home…” Tasha’s voice was very suggestive, but Clint chose to ignore her, barreling ahead.
“There was a man in the street. A…a homeless guy. And he attacked us. Tried to strangle me.”
Well, that was a bad lie. The bruises were in strange places…..definitely not hand marks. “Um…..as you can see, he had really weird hands.” There was a small snicker from Tasha’s direction. Clint ignored it. “I threw him off easily. Took care of it. Not a problem.”
There was a slight coughing sound from Bruce, as though he were clearing his throat. Clint realized Bruce was covering up a laugh. Obviously Bruce knew Clint totally pulled that story out of his ass. Tony was far more obvious. He let out a bark of laughter. Clint glared at him.
“Thank you, Agent Barton, for that riveting piece of storytelling.” Coulson’s voice was very dry and sarcastic, though Clint would bet good money that secretly, Coulson had found the story amusing. It had certainly been one of the more entertaining stories Clint had come up with over the years, and he’d had some doozies. “Now, if we could begin?”
Immediately, Thor interjected. “No, wait! I must hear more of this strange-handed vagrant!”
Tony couldn’t handle it. He burst into full-on laughter, a hand slapping the table.
Clint tried his best to glare at Tony, but he just couldn’t. That laughter was infectious. Still…. “You’re not helping.”
Coulson’s raised voice immediately shut everyone up. Well…..everyone but Tony. He was still laughing. He was the only one who didn’t seem to know that a loud Coulson was a scary Coulson. Or, more likely, he just didn’t care. Clint elbowed Tony in the ribs, which elicited a loud “OW!”, and a hissed “Shut the fuck up!” from Clint. Tony grumbled a bit, but did as he was told, settling down to listen.
“Thank you.” Coulson’s irritation was no longer suppressed……not even on his face, and he was usually quite careful to keep his emotions veiled. Shit. They had really pissed him off. “If we’re all quite finished, then we can get started.”
Coulson’s words were greeted with silence (Clint was amazed and oh so grateful that Tony had actually managed to keep his mouth shut). “All right, then.” And Coulson moved to the computer, pulling up some diagrams, large enough to cover almost an entire wall. “Then let’s begin.”
Clint was only half listening. He knew he should be paying attention, but he just couldn’t take his eyes off Tony. If Clint was half listening, Tony wasn’t listening at all. He was doodling something on a piece of paper……Clint had no idea what it was. Some sort of project design, maybe. Clint was immediately drawn in by how graceful Tony’s hands were. Then, the drawing came to a stop, and Tony was looking at him. Clint flushed beneath that gaze. Smiling, Tony began sketching again. Clint looked at the drawing, watching it take shape into…..a very obnoxious caricature of Coulson, the words “BLAH BLAH BLAH” coming from his mouth. Clint attempted to stifle a snort of laughter, but he wasn’t entirely successful, and everyone looked his way.
“……something you’d like to share with us, Agent Barton?”
Coulson stared at Clint for a moment, then gave Tony the briefest of glances. He seemed to know that somehow, Tony was responsible. Tony simply gazed back at him with those wide, innocent eyes. Shaking his head, Coulson returned to his lecture.
Tony glanced at Clint, smiling. It was more of a smirk, actually. A wicked, wicked smirk. God, it was sexy. Everything Tony did was sexy. The way he twirled his pencil between his fingers……the way he stretched lazily, slouching back in his chair, arms up over his head. The way he ran his hands through his hair as though to straighten it, but only succeeded in messing it further. His smile……God, his smile. Everything. Every single little thing he did. Clint didn’t know how it had taken him so long to notice. Tony Stark was fucking sexy.
Clint wanted him.
He was startled from his thoughts as people began moving, rising from their chairs. He looked around in confusion. “What?”
Tasha shook her head at him, amused. “We’re taking a short break. Ten minutes.”
“Oh. Okay.” Maybe he could have a moment alone with Tony. If he couldn’t, he thought he would go mad.
“God,” Tony mumbled. “Thought he’d never shut up.” He rose from his chair, arms up over his head as he stretched again. His t-shirt rode up as he did so, revealing the tiniest sliver of bare skin. Clint felt heat roll through him. Fuck. Everyone else needed to get out of that room, pronto.
Only Bruce and Thor were still there, and they were on their way out the door. Tony was right behind them, but he hadn’t even put one foot out the door before Clint grabbed the back of his shirt. Tony let out a little noise of surprise as he was yanked backwards and unceremoniously shoved up against the wall, but that was all he had time for before Clint was kissing him.
There was a soft sound as the door shut, but neither man noticed. Tony had quickly gotten over that initial surprise, and his arms had snaked around Clint’s neck, hands slipping into his hair.
The room was silent but for the soft sounds of kisses being exchanged, until finally, Clint pulled away for air. Tony looked up at him, cheeks flushed and those brown eyes hooded and God, he looked so fucking sexy.
“Well,” Tony said, smiling. “That was a surprise.”
“Nice one, I hope.”
“Oh, hell yes.” Tony’s arms were still around Clint’s neck, and now Clint could feel those graceful fingers trailing through his hair, teasing their way along his scalp. Damn, it felt good. “Y’know how many times I’ve fantasized about pretty much this exact same scenario?”
Clint was surprised. “Really?” But he was even more surprised that it didn’t seem strange that Tony had been sitting at staff meetings, fantasizing about him. No. Rather the knowledge sent a flood of heat rushing through him, straight to his groin.
Tony nodded, smiling, and there was a flush now in his cheeks that had nothing to do with arousal and a little more to do with what he just shared. Clint found it unfairly cute seeing Tony Stark blushing. It wasn’t a sight he’d ever thought to see. “Yea. Really.”
Clint smiled. “Well, then.” He pulled Tony tight against him; Tony looked up at Clint with wide eyes, but there was a heat in them. “….guess we should be making up for lost time.”
“Oh, God yes.” Tony’s words were barely more than a whisper, and then Clint had swept Tony up off his feet, feeling those long legs wrapping round his waist as he carried Tony over to the table. With one arm, Clint sent Coulson’s papers flying off the table, and set Tony down in their place.
Tony smiled at Clint. “You certainly seem to know your way around the conference room, Agent Barton.” His hands were smoothing down Clint’s shirtfront, feeling ridiculously, teasingly good against his chest. “I hope you don’t make a regular habit of this.”
Clint trailed a hand through Tony’s messy hair, down his throat, thumb brushing one of the purple bruises, enjoying the hiss of pleasured pain that Tony made when Clint pressed down on the mark ever so slightly. “No, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna start.”
He could feel the shiver that ran through Tony at those words….God, the man was so responsive….and then they were kissing. Somewhere along the line, Tony got Clint’s shirt unbuttoned, for he could feel bare hands against his skin, tracing the outline of each muscle, and when a fingertip brushed his nipple he gasped, and his mouth found Tony’s throat, latching onto one of the marks he’d made the night before.
Tony was much less subdued in his responses. He made this sound……a sort of sigh, but at the end of it he moaned. Goddamn. Clint had never heard a noise like that before. It was the sexiest damn thing ever. He slid his fingers into Tony’s hair, tugging, and Tony obligingly tilted his head to the side, giving Clint better access to his throat, the soft flesh there.
Clint couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this way. This…..with Tony……this wasn’t just sex. It made him feel…..alive. Alive and, more importantly, happy. In a way he hadn’t felt in a long time. Being with Tony…….he could lose himself in that feeling of happiness. And he wanted to. He wanted to more than anything.
The cough from behind him signaled that he had succeeded at losing track of something: the time. Clint pulled away from Tony, turning towards the door.
The entire team was standing there, Coulson at the head and obviously the one who had coughed impatiently. He looked furious. Clint winced inwardly.
“If you gentlemen are quite finished, we’d like to begin.”
“Mr. Stark, if you don’t mind, please get off the table.”
“Actually, it’s pretty comfy up here.”
Coulson was silent, simply staring at Tony. Clint was pretty certain that after today, Coulson’s hatred of Tony had multiplied by at least ten. He realized suddenly that his shirt was completely undone. He hastily moved to button it. Tony’s hair was a mess, and his shirt collar was askew, tugged out of place so Clint had better access to Tony’s bare throat.
Tasha sauntered on by, pausing to pick up the papers Clint had knocked to the floor in his haste to get Tony on the table. She set the papers beside Tony and gave him a once-over, paying particular attention to the newly blossoming bruises on his throat. “Well, thanks for showing us all how you really got the marks last night.” She brushed one with a fingertip. Tony swatted her hand away.
“I do not understand.” Thor looked extremely puzzled by Tasha’s statement. He looked from Tony disheveled on the table, to Clint doing up his shirt, then back at Tasha. “…..what has this to do with the strange-handed vagrant?”
Tony didn’t stand a chance. He practically keeled over laughing. This time, Clint couldn’t have stoppedTony if he tried….he was having a hard enough time as it was to stop from laughing himself. He managed to bite back the laughter, but he couldn’t help grinning. Still, he punched Tony. “Shut up.”
“Can’t. Your fault.”
“Yea. You and your strange-handed vagrant.”
“So there IS a strange-handed vagrant?” Thor interjected. “Where is he? We must do glorious battle!”
That was it. Tony was completely done for, and this time, Clint wasn’t far behind. No amount of training could stop him from bursting into laughter. He was just too damn happy to begin with; he couldn’t handle hysterical moments or Tony’s ridiculously infectious laughter on top of that. Clint was laughing so hard he only half heard Coulson’s words.
“We’re going to call it a day.” Coulson didn’t sound at all happy. “We’ll try the meeting again in two days, same time. Everyone is free to go.”
Tony grabbed Clint’s hand, sliding off the table and tugging Clint with him, but they hadn’t made it two steps before they were halted by Coulson’s voice.
“Not you, Agent Barton.” Somehow, Clint had known that was coming. “You’ve got work to do.”
Clint felt a twinge of disappointment; he reluctantly let go of Tony’s hand. “Yes, sir.”
Tony, however, wasn’t ready to give up so easily. “Oh, come on. You just said everyone is free to go. ‘Everyone’ implies ‘everyone’.”
“Yes, Mr. Stark, I went to school, I know what ‘everyone’ means. But Agent Barton has some work to attend to. And after what the two of you pulled today, I wish I had the authority to punish you, too.”
“You’re punishing him? THAT’S why he has to stay?”
But Coulson wasn’t listening to a thing Tony said. He had turned away as soon as Tony opened his mouth and had left the room.
“Hey, Tony, come on.” Clint stepped in close to Tony, voice soft. “It’s okay. I’m just going to get stuck doing bullshit paperwork or something. Don’t worry about it.”
The pout on Tony’s face was almost comical, and Clint had to fight to stifle a laugh. He poked Tony’s belly. “Stop that.”
“Why? Am I being adorable? Are you feeling all guilty? Think it’ll work on Coulson? Should I chase after him?”
Clint laughed. “Yeah, right. I’ve been trying for years to find something that’ll work on Coulson to get me my way. The guy’s impossible.”
Tony sighed. “Dammit. Well…….how long you think you’ll be working?”
“I don’t know. Depends how pissed he is.”
“Damn. I’ll never hear from you again.”
Clint laughed. “Hey, he’s not THAT bad.”
“Maybe not to YOU. He hates ME. And now that you’re dating me, it’s only gonna get worse.”
“Mm……probably.” Clint walked with Tony from the conference room, down the hall. They stopped by his desk. Coulson was watching them from across the room. Clint ignored him.
“I’d say definitely.” Tony looked at the desk. “…..this your computer?”
“No reason. Just cool to see where you work.”
Clint laughed. “You’re such a weirdo.”
“Oh yea. Hey. Walk me out?”
“Definitely.” They headed towards the door. Clint realized Tony hadn’t taken his hand, hadn’t tried to kiss him. He was still waiting for Clint to make the first move. God. Clint would never have expected someone as brash and loud and….well……generally obnoxious as Tony Stark was to be so completely caring when it came to every single little thing in their relationship. It was wonderful.
They reached the front door, and Clint pulled Tony in, eliciting a little noise of surprise from the other man, and gave him a long, soft kiss. When Clint pulled away, Tony was smiling at him, and Clint only had a moment for that smile to register before Tony was kissing him again. Clint laughed into the kiss.
“Dork,” he said, when they pulled apart.
Tony just smiled. “I love you.” He didn’t wait around, both of them knowing that there was no certain answer to come. Instead he headed to his car, hopping in. The engine revved to life; Tony leaned out the window, hollering “Call me later!”
“As soon as I’m done!” Clint promised.
The smile that the promise brought to Tony’s face filled Clint with happy warmth and, with a wave, Tony drove out of sight.
Clint heaved a sigh. He had finally finished the huge pile of paperwork Coulson had dumped on him after the Avengers meeting that morning. Now, all that was left was to type it all into the computer.
Reaching behind the computer monitor, he flicked the power switch. The screen roared to life……and so did the sound. The entire office seemed to shake as music began blaring from Clint’s computer. Loud techno music.
A photo of Tony popped up on the screen, along with a phone number. Tony’s number. Then, the music wasn’t just music, but a real pop song, for now there were lyrics.
“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe!”
It was official. Clint was going to die. He stared at the photo on his computer screen, Tony’s face, that smile, and thought ‘you are SUCH an ass’. But God. It was so fucking funny.
Uh oh. Coulson sounded pissed. REALLY pissed.
“Turn that music off!”
“Um, I didn’t turn it on, sir.”
Coulson was there now, standing behind Clint. He was simply silent for a moment as he stared at the screen. “……dammit, Stark.” The words were muttered beneath his breath. “Turn it off.”
“Well……” Clint was fiddling with the buttons on the computer. “See, I tried turning the volume down……and then off…….and that doesn’t work……..so I tried just turning the whole COMPUTER off…….and that’s not working, either.”
Coulson was going to blow a fuse by the end of the day. “…….call your damn boyfriend.”
“Yes, sir.” Clint reached for his phone, buried somewhere on his desk. As he rifled through all the papers, trying to find it, a particular line of lyrics jumped out at him.
“Before you came into my life I missed you so bad. I missed you so bad.”
Clint knew they were just the lyrics to some silly little pop song, but he also knew how Tony felt. And he knew that Tony had intended those lyrics to mean exactly what they said. It made his heart do that little flutter thing that only Tony seemed capable of eliciting. God. Now he really wanted to see Tony more than anything. But he would settle for the sound of his voice.
The phone rang only once before Tony picked it up.
Clint had to smile. “Hey, asshole.”
“I take it you got my message.”
Clint shook his head. “You are SUCH a jerk, you know that?”
“Oh yea. I know that.”
Behind him, from somewhere in the room, over the din of the song playing, Clint could hear Coulson yelling “Agent Barton! Get your boyfriend to turn this damn music off!”
Clint was pretty damn positive he had the best boyfriend ever.
Before you came into my life I missed you so bad. And you should know that. I missed you so, so bad.