Chapter 1: Part 1
Clint Barton is S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most loveable asshole. Unfortunately for all associated parties, he knows it and exploits it on an almost daily basis. On the positive side, there is never a boring day.
Director Fury was the first who learned how to spot it. No one knew what exactly tipped him off to the marksman’s mischievous manners, but on his daily trek to his office, Fury spots Barton walking in the opposite direction down the hall. No one else would think twice of Barton’s blank expression and his distant eyes, but Fury knows shit’s hit the fan.
He quickens his step and makes it to his office in record time. He swipes his ID card at the scanner and throws open the door.
Well, there’s not a robot army destroying his computer, or a giant iguana tearing up his rolly chair, or confetti cannons blowing glitter in his face. In fact, nothing looks out of place. Except for the fact that every item in the room is now affixed to the ceiling in almost perfect order.
“Dammit Barton!” The director yells.
If he weren’t so pissed off, he might actually be impressed. He was only gone half an hour.
“So, was she just a small town girl?” Barton asks halfway through a debriefing of their latest mission.
In any other situation, Coulson could have handled Barton’s cavalier attitude with more delicacy, but they’ve just returned from a three-month stakeout in Bosnia which consisted of the two men huddling in a poorly lit motel room and tracking insurgents of the Bosnian underground.
Coulson tries to shake it off. “The rebels were mostly quiet until---”
“Did she take the midnight train going anywhere?” Barton interrupted.
Any other day, Coulson had some reprieve from the onslaught of snarky comments and frighteningly good observations that is Clint Barton. Any other day, he can keep his calm, constrained, suited exterior until he can get back to his office and stick a pin into the stress ball Barton drew lesbian unicorns on. Any other day, he hadn’t left his iPod out on his Most Listened To playlist playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” on repeat.
“Does anyone smell wine and cheap perfume?”
“Dammit Barton! Let me finish debriefing and you can serenade me for a whole verse before I break your thumbs.”
Today, clearly, is not any other day.
By the time the Avengers have moved into the Stark Tower together, they have only scratched the surface on each other’s quirks. It takes the team a week to discover that Tony does not eat unless food appears in front of him. In the course of that week, they also learn that Thor’s snores shake the building’s foundation, Natasha listens to Lady Gaga when she spars, Clint leaves his boots by the elevator, Steve does in fact know how to use the internet, and Bruce has a tea for every possible scenario.
They set aside a drawer in the kitchen into which Bruce shoves canisters of tea leaves, boxes of tea bags, in every conceivable brand and flavor. He has fruit teas for summer afternoons, green tea for late nights in the lab, earl gray for mornings, and most importantly chamomile to aid against insomnia.
It’s been a particularly long day for Bruce: all morning in the lab, then the global emergency of the week, then debriefing and medical exams for all the team. Now, it’s almost midnight and all he wants is a steaming cup of tea to ease his body into a semi-comatose state.
He trudges down the hall into the kitchen and only barely misses the long shadow as it darts behind the island as Bruce puts the kettle on and opens his tea drawer. He pushes aside tins of flavored leaves, looking for his chamomile teabags. They are nowhere to be found.
Half an hour later, the kitchen has been torn apart, the water in the kettle has long since boiled out, and the teabags are still nowhere to be found. Bruce focuses mostly on keeping calm, easing his breath until his heart rate levels out. He sighs and resigns himself to another sleepless night.
When he returns to his room, he finds the box of teabags perched carefully on his bedside table. A purple sticky note is stuck to the box and a large smiley with its tongue sticking out stares back at him.
His heart rate should be through the roof, but right now, he’s too tired to care.
“Dammit Barton,” Bruce hisses as he closes the door and trudges back to the kitchen, teabags in hand.
The Avengers have a rule about Thor: always let him win. Some people (cough Steve Rogers cough, cough) don’t think it’s right to mislead a friend. Some people (cough Natasha Romanoff cough, cough) go along with it because she doesn’t want to clean up that mess. Some people (cough Clint Barton cough, cough) just like to fuck around with the system.
They’re having a team-bonding night. Or rather, the team is stuffing themselves with pizza and watching Thor kick everyone’s ass at Super Smash Bros.
“I think I understand this unusual Midgard custom,” Thor comments, leaning forward on the couch as his monster does battle. “It is how you do battle without doing battle.”
“Something like that,” Barton replies, biding his time dodging Thor’s attacks.
“It is so strange to not brawl, but given your physical deficiencies, I can see the allure,” the god says.
The attack is swift and unexpected, and in an instant, Thor’s character has lost to Barton’s tiny yellow mouse. Thor stares at the television in bewilderment for a moment before he grunts a deep guttural noise and flings the controller at the screen, shattering the television and the wall behind it.
“Dammit Barton! I’ve changed my mind. This is a pointless tradition!” Thor yells before storming off to his room to brood.
Though no one admits it at the time, they’re all secretly glad Thor now knows the limits of his prowess. And they’ve regained control of the Wii.
What happens to Natasha is in fact an accident because contrary to popular belief, Clint Barton is not a telepath. Sure, he is eerily good at reading people and predicting behavior accordingly, but when he’s perched atop a building shooting arrow after arrow at Monstrosity Number 2 that threatens New York City this week, he has no way of knowing that Natasha will sprint into the line of fire half a second after he looses a bolt. The result is not pleasant.
“GOD DAMMIT, BARTON!” Natasha screeches as she falters midstride, a red-fletched arrow protruding from her left buttock.
“Oh fuck,” Barton murmurs. He’ll have hell to pay when the battle is over.
He watches his back for the next two weeks and only leaves his room when he’s forced to. He still ends up running for gunfire inside S.H.I.E.L.D., and Barton thanks every luck star that Natasha isn’t actually aiming to hurt him.
The worst thing about working for S.H.I.E.L.D. is that if any upper management found out they were playing Avengers paintball in the condemned wing of the old S.H.I.E.L.D. building, they would not be happy. The best thing about working for S.H.I.E.L.D. is that Director Fury runs a betting pool on how these paintball games will end, so they never actually get in trouble. The second worst thing is that Clint and Natasha tag-team everyone else.
Tony’s currently cursing under his breath as he stalks through the corridors in his black garb and heat-vision goggles. Yes, they agreed on night vision only, but he’s a bastard in that way and he’ll take every advantage he can get.
He moves as swiftly as he dares, taking quiet steps and always scanning the area in front of him for opponents. He’s lost three of the nine games they’ve played so far and he will not, repeat not, lose again.
A flash of bright red darts across his vision. Two paintballs fly at him. Tony swerves, trying to miss them. Another three fly. He ducks and rolls and maneuvers in hope of avoiding the paint. When he pauses and looks at his vest, he sees huge patches of purple paint covering his front and arms. He can only guess those patches extend to his back. Fuck.
Whoosh! Another paintball splats across his mask, leaving him with purple covered vision.
“Dammit Barton! I’m already out!”
Whoosh! Thunk, thunk. Two balls shatter just above and below his groin. That ass.
After a mission, all Steve really wants to do is take a shower and rinse all the crime-fighting grime from his body. He has a system. He debriefs quickly and efficiently and then races off for a shower just as the rest of the team is finishing getting clean.
Once the hot water starts falling over him, his mind goes blissfully blank as his worn muscles begin to rejuvenate under the water. He lathers soap in his hands covers every inch of skin in a thick foam before rinsing off.
Steve is so consumed in his task that he’s honestly not paying attention to his surroundings until a steady, calloused hand rests on his hip.
“So, are we gonna do this?” a voice asks (Barton, his mind leisurely supplies) as something firm is pressed into the cleft of his ass.
Suddenly, all thought whirs to a stop. What the…
“Um,” Steve begins hesitantly, wishing he could step forward and away from…whatever’s about to happen. He knows he can take Barton out—he has, in fact, multiple times while sparing—but the marksman has the upper hand in this situation, and Steve doesn’t want to make the situation any worse.
Suddenly, Barton backs away and starts cracking up. There’s a soft thud when he falls sideways against the shower wall, but his laughter doesn’t stop. “Nope, can’t commit to that one,” he gasps out in between bouts of hysterical chuckles. “Sorry Cap.”
The shower curtain rustles open and closed as Barton leaves. Steve turns to see a bottle of shampoo lying on the shower floor where Barton fell (more than likely anyways). Steve chuckles nervously as his breathing gets back to normal.
“Dammit Barton,” he murmurs as he returns to rinsing.
Perhaps he should just wait for a shower until he’s back in his room at Stark Tower.
At the end of the day, all Barton wants to do is curl up in bed and fall asleep to the dulcet tones of Die Hard. And quite frankly, it’s been a day from hell. Bruce hulked-out in the lab today, almost tearing a hole in the side of the Tower, Tony and Steve would not stop bickering, Thor had eaten quite literally everything in the fridge, and Natasha was still glaring at him (in her defense, he did put purple hair dye in her shampoo, so that one was probably warranted). So when he unlocks his room and finds her lying naked on his bed, purple hair and all, Barton’s a bit confused.
“What are you doing here?” he asks, not stepping over the threshold.
“I wanted to see you. Show you there’s no hard feelings,” she says with a smile.
Barton’s feet shift slightly, but his face remains blank.
“Why are you naked?”
“That’s part of the no-hard-feelings package,” she replies, standing up and walking toward him.
His breathing quickens, and he closes his eyes. She steps closer and rests her hands on his chest.
In a flash, Barton pushes her back into the room and jabs the auto-lock button beside the door. The door slams closed and locks into place.
“Barton! What are you doing?”
He takes his time walking to the comm. halfway down the hall and leisurely presses the button. “Thor, your brother’s here. He’s dressed up as Natasha and hiding in my room.”
“Dammit Barton!” a distinctly masculine voice screams.
Hope everyone enjoyed the fic. Any comments or constructive criticisms are welcome. If you have any ideas you think might be funny or want to see utilized, please leave a comment! I can always do with more advice or suggestions!