The fight is over pretty quickly, and Bruce lets them know pretty fast that Loki’s going to be fine, but the cleanup seems to take forever. Tony immediately takes off his helmet to sign autographs and show off the return of his manly bone structure, which should thrill Coulson, but Clint focuses on getting everything set to rights as quickly as possible. The cops helping them are just starting to look daggers at him to his face as well as behind his back when Tony saunters over and says loudly, “Cap, put Junior on, will you? Hawkeye’s freaking out.” He turns to the nearest cop, a stocky older man with a wedding ring, and says “You’re a parent, right? You know how it goes.”
Clint scowls, but the cop’s expression immediately clears in understanding and the next second Loki’s voice says over the communicator, “Hello? St- the Captain says I am only to address you as ‘Hawkeye’ over this device. Hawkeye, can you hear me?”
Clint grins in what he distantly knows is a really embarrassing way. One of the firemen nearby snickers. “Loud and clear, kid. How’re you feeling?”
“Better,” Loki says. “I ate some soup and drank some juice and I am much improved. The healers said my dizziness was due to low blood sugar, low blood pressure, dehydration, and an... electrolyte imbalance.” He pronounces the last phrase very carefully. “I am assured that means essentially the same thing as ‘overexertion’, which is what I diagnosed myself with initially.”
Clint smiles at the exasperated tone. “I bet you did. It’s good to hear you’re okay now, though. Watching you fall over was pretty scary.”
“Oh,” Loki says, a little surprised. “I did not consider that. I am sorry to have caused you distress.”
“‘Sokay, kiddo.” Clint says and changes the subject, suddenly uncomfortable. “So what kind of juice did you get?”
“It is called ‘Gatorade’,” Loki says agreeably. “It has an alarming color but is reasonably flavorful. What fruit is it made from?”
“It’s made from gators,” Tony chips in. “Alligators. They’re lizards.”
“How... unique,” Loki says politely, sounding remarkably less enthusiastic.
Clint makes a face at Tony. “Iron Man’s pulling your leg, kid. It’s not made from lizards.”
Loki laughs. “Was that for my joke earlier? It was well done, Man of Iron.”
“Thanks, kid,” Tony says, smirking. “Next time say ‘well played’.”
“Well played, Man of Iron,” Loki says obediently. “I must go now. I am being allowed to return to my room.”
“Take care, kiddo,” Clint says, rolling his eyes at Tony.
“He catch that flu bug that’s going around?” the cop says sympathetically when Clint returns. “Mine came down with it last week. Nothing as pitiful as a sick kid.”
“Nah, it’s another thing,” Clint says. “But yeah, I know what you mean.”
The rest of the cleanup goes much faster for some reason, and pretty soon Clint and Tony feel they can leave in good conscience, i.e. in Steve’s good conscience. The cop even claps Clint on the shoulder as they go, which is a first. The relationship between the Avengers and local law enforcement isn’t strained so much as it is delicately balanced; on the one hand, it’s nice for the NYPD to be able to send someone else in to deal with ludicrous threats, but on the other there’s almost always some degree of collateral damage afterwards. Some of Tony’s less sensitive jokes have also not been a big help.
“So, you’re taking this fatherhood thing well,” Tony says.
Clint sighs, exasperated. “Okay, enough. Bite me, Stark.”
“Older brotherhood, then. Cool uncle-ship,” Tony says, and Clint realises with a certain degree of horror that Tony’s being serious. “You know I ran away from home, once?” Tony continues, talking fast in that way that means he wants to say something but isn’t sure he wants the other person to hear him when he does it. “I was like, maybe ten. My mom was out of town and my dad didn’t notice until my school called to ask why I’d missed two days of classes, and then he sent the chauffeur to go look for me. You found Loki in under an hour. That’s good.”
“Thanks,” Clint manages. “My parents died when I was a kid. Nobody would have been looking for me either.” He’s not sure why he says it - their team is generally scrupulously careful about not prying into certain areas of each other’s lives. Even Tony has lines he won’t cross, although they tend to be well past everyone else’s.
Tony flashes him a quick grin. “Well, maybe all of us put together will make one good parent, who knows?”
Clint nods slowly, apprehension dawning. “This is going to be super awkward when Thor wakes up, isn’t it.”
“Oooh,” Tony says. “Yikes. I hadn’t thought of that.” He whacks Clint on the shoulder. “Well, see you back at the mansion!”
“Asshole,” Clint mutters resignedly.