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Five Times Tim Gutterson Didn't Get Hit On By an Avenger

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.01 Tony Stark

Tim figured the guy was just the right kind of famous - way too much for anyone to expect him coming here without an army of easy-to-spot bodyguards, but not nearly enough for the good people of Harlan to want to come and check if he might be aware yet of how closely he resembled someone they'd seen on TV maybe once or twice, and hadn't liked particularly much.

“So what's a guy like you doin' in a place like this?”

He hadn't meant it by way of a good, old-fashioned pick-up line, although given that this was Tony Stark, he figured it might well be taken as such. In which case Tim didn't see why they should be having any kind of problem.

“Really?” Stark blinked at him. “That's your best move?”

“Deputy US Marshal Tim Gutterson,” Tim said, not flashing his badge, because he actually sort of liked coming here. “If we're about to be invaded by aliens, I think my boss'd like to know.”

“No, he wouldn't,” Stark said. “And if you were, I wouldn't be here. Trust me.”

“Fair enough,” Tim said, and then, because he'd been raised to expect answers when you asked someone a question: “So?”

Stark sipped his beer, looking thoughtful. “Hiding,” he said. “All things considered - and I won't bore you with the details, if only because you wouldn't understand half of them anyway, no offense, and the other half's classified, so no dice there either, but in essence and being as honest as I ever get, I think you could safely say that I'm here to hide.”

“All right,” Tim said. “This is a pretty good place for that.”

“Well, I didn't come here for the liquor,” Stark said. “Or the company. Again, no offense.”

“You sayin' I'm not your type?”

“Fully dressed and an authority figure,” Stark said. “So I'm going to go with 'no' here.”

“No offense?”

Stark looked at him. Not an 'undressing a man with his eyes' sort of look, more of a 'waking up and realizing who you've taken home the night before' look, which seemed a bit hasty, considering. “Wouldn't a 'yes' have required a repeat of that particular disclaimer?”

“Nope,” Tim said, finishing off his own bottle.

“So,” Stark said. “What's a guy like you doing in a place like this?”


.02 Steve Rogers

Tall, blonde and honest-looking - could have come walking straight out of one of Boyd Crowder's wet dreams back when he'd been preaching all that white supremacy bullshit, except that Tim was pretty sure Boyd wouldn't have cared much for meeting someone like Steve Rogers in the flesh.

Quite possibly, the feeling would have been mutual, or so Tim reckoned.

“You ever look around and wonder if all this was worth fighting for?”

Steve knocked back his drink and grimaced, like even though the alcohol didn't do anything for him, he could still feel it burn on its way down. Tim wasn't sure what a living American icon was doing here, anyway, unless it was for either the live music or the company.

Where by 'company', obviously, he meant his modest self.

“Son,” Steve said. “Never.”

(As far as conversation-stoppers went, it was a pretty good one, even if Tim had also already gotten into the habit of not hanging out too long with people who addressed him as 'son', never mind how many decades they had on him.)


.03 Natasha Romanov

Gorgeous redhead with a cool gaze - would've been just his type if she'd been a he. Since she wasn't, though, Tim figured he'd just sit back and enjoy the view. (And possibly the show, later on, when someone'd decide to do something stupid.)

Her clothes left just enough to the imagination. He could tell she was packing - knives, for starters, which didn't do much for him, no matter how well-made they were likely to be. Guns were a different story, now - two, at least, with possibly a third by way of back-up. Small caliber, meaning solid aiming skills.

Customized, possibly, meaning more expensive than he was likely to get his hands on working as a deputy US Marshal, although he wouldn't say he was inclined to complain about the stuff he did get his hands on.

“You come here often?” Lovely voice, with only the faintest trace of an accent.

“All the time,” Tim said. “Ain't seen you here before, though. You new in town?”

“Just passing through,” she said, which either meant she'd made him as law enforcement and wanted to let him know she wasn't looking for trouble, or that she was telling him that if he planned on making a move, he'd best do it tonight, and quickly.

Whichever it was lost its relevance somewhat when he looked over her shoulder and spotted a familiar hat. “Maybe you'd like to meet my friend.”

“Your friend?” One eyebrow arched, like she thought he might be using a line on her - which he was, of course, but -

“Not like that.” She didn't look like she'd have any trouble handling two guys, whether or not they were armed. (Hell, whether or not she was.)

“Ah,” she said.

“And not like that, neither. He's straight. Far as I know, anyway.”

Her expression had turned a little bit amused by now. “And a regular, like yourself?”

“Not really. He's with the marshals, though. Reckon that's what you're looking for, anyway. You from Langley?”

“Not really,” she said. “But nice guess.”


.04 Bruce Banner

Just like you could feel lonely and abandoned in a crowd, you could feel like you wanted to have a quiet drink by yourself in some quiet company. Didn't always work out as planned, although tonight, Tim reckoned he might have a winner.

“You ever feel angry, Deputy Gutterson?”

“It's Tim.” Because people who bought him a drink got to have at least one chance at proving they weren't assholes. “And yes. Rather a lot of the time.”

“Bruce. And with me, it's all the time. Just ... “ Bruce gestured with his glass. “Angry.”

“You plan on smashin' that glass over someone's head? Maybe break a few chairs and a window while you're at it?”

“Don't treat me like an idiot, Deputy Gutterson.”

“Only checkin'. Buy you another one?”

“No. I think I've had enough.” Bruce reached for his jacket. “The other guy doesn't like it when I drink too much.”

“You got someone waitin' for you back home?” Anger issues or not, he hadn't seemed the type, somehow. To go out for a drink with another guy while he was in a committed relationship already.

Bruce chuckled, but he didn't sound particularly amused. Or angry, for that matter. “Hardly.”


.05 Phil Coulson

Some folks, you could tell they were trying maybe just a little bit too hard to blend in. Guy wore the right clothes, ordered the right drink, sat at a nice, out of the way table, and yet ...

“Wife or husband?” Tim asked, helping himself to a chair.

“I beg your pardon?” Right accent, too; just faint enough to make it believable if maybe he slipped and forgot once or twice. Not local, but then, that'd have been a tall order.

“Who you're hidin' from,” Tim said. “Reckon there must be someone after you, way you're actin'.”

“I see.” Right smile; polite, with maybe a hint of a flirt. That last bit might just be wishful thinking, of course, and Tim'd just as soon not get in the middle of an already messy situation. “You're very observant, Mr Gutterson.”

“Thanks.” Definitely messy, if not quite in the way he'd initially assumed, it would appear. “And you seem very well-informed. Mind tellin' me who you are?”

“I'm afraid that information is classified.”

Of course it was. “Your name is classified?”

“Well, according to all public records, as well as a few less public ones, I'm dead.” A small shrug, as if to say 'what can you do?'. “I'm sure you can see how that makes things a bit complicated.”

Tim decided he was going to let that one go. “So what brings you here?”

“A job offer.”

“What, someone's lookin' to hire dead people?” Tim felt pretty sure he'd be able to put a name on that someone. Several names, actually.

Art wasn't going to be happy about this.

“Oh, it's not for me.” The guy smiled again, with definite warmth this time. “It's for you.”

Art definitely wasn't going to be happy about this.