Clint sat wrapped up in a worn blanket, crinkling his nose along to the tune of the cackling fire. His dark eyes met the skyline facing him out the glass walls of Stark Tower, snow falling seamlessly into the horizon. He dabbed at his nose with a tissue, sniffling as though it was the end of the world. He wasn’t entirely pleased.
On the bright side, the dirty blond thought as he curled up further into his miniature fortress, this gave him the perfect opportunity to sit in silence. Well, half-silence, with all the romping about in the level below. Something about Thor wanting to invite his brother over for Christmas.. Clint could hear the others arguing and laughing at the very idea. Although he wasn’t fond of Loki, he did in fact once brainwash him into attacking his allies and all, he was creeping closer to the Norse God’s side. For one, he didn’t want to get crushed, and he had never had a family of his own. Why deny someone that privilege, whether they be good or bad?
A soft sigh brushed past his trembling lips, he was damn cold, and sick; incredibly sick. Right around the holiday season, his luck. The archer leaned back into his chair, breathing through his nose at an usual pace to clear his sinuses to no avail. So, not only was he down with something, he was alone as well. In a little glass room, with a fire and a view of the city and sky’s meeting point.
Clint couldn’t decide whether he felt happy or slightly depressed at the very thought as it tumbled through his mind. He had time to decide that later, he thought, turning back to face the flames. “I don’t mind,” he told the empty room. Another sniffle later, he was sighing again.
Within the moments of his period of frowning, his ears perked up to the sound of footsteps coming to the door. A gentle thumping that couldn’t belong to Thor or Tony, perhaps even Steve was to be crossed off the list- and it certainly wasn’t Natasha.. He wouldn’t have heard a single thing if it had been her. “Hello?”
A small tap on the door, weak almost, and a soft spoken voice. “Hi Clint, can I come in?”
The man sat there, blinking at the tone of the visitor. It could only belong to one person there, and why would he of all people come to visit him? “Come in,” he murmured, just loud enough for the person on the other side of the door to hear.
Despite his slight disbelief, there stood Bruce Banner, a tray placed neatly in his hands as porcelain cups clinked together to a disorganized rhythm. “Hi.” The doctor licked his lip, taking a deep breath. “I brought tea. And hot chocolate in case you weren’t a fan.”
Clint was still a bit too stunned to chuckle, let alone breathe properly, his sniffling becoming much worse in Bruce’s presence. “That’s really sweet of you, you didn’t have too..” Somehow he got a smile to grace his face. “Why did you?”
The curly haired brunette sat the tray down on the coffee table in the center of the room, sitting on the opposite end of the table as Clint was. “I thought it’d be a nice gesture.”
“Ah.” The man pressed his lips together in thought (though only temporarily due to his cold), observing the scientist with a look of intrigue. “Again, I’m thankful for this. I could really use a hot drink right now.” He attempted laughter, its sound distorted with his abnormal breathing pattern. Clint immediately ceased after realizing the monstrous sound clawing out of his throat.
Bruce chuckled, (his had a very sweet ring to it Clint noted) looking down at the tray again with antsy fingers tapping along his kneecaps. “Uh, so, tea or hot chocolate then?”
“I’ll have the hot chocolate if you want the tea.” Bruce smiled at this.
“It’s my favorite. It really calms you down wherever you are.” He poured a bit of the liquid into a teacup from a pot, eyes almost shining, probably due to the fire’s flames reflecting off every possible surface in the room. “Unless the other guy comes out. He’s not as big a fan as I am.”
Clint bit his lip in order to hide the hideous noise that was his laughter at that point in time, settling for a few sniffles in replacement for the time being. The man across from him stood, picking up the other glass up which had been previously poured and generously topped in whipped cream. “I didn’t know if you wanted any. I went a little overboard, I know.” He shuffled over, careful not to spill any of the cup’s fluids onto Tony’s rug. Bruce handed it over to the sick archer, who greeted the beverage with open arms.
Clint nodded a thanks, taking a sip as Bruce stood over him with curious eyes. Finally, after a few moments of silence, he broke out into a grin. “It’s perfect. Not too much at all.” The scientist sighed in what seemed to be relief, running a hand through his messy curls as he watched the blond before him struggled with a leftover trail of cream over his upper lip.
Instinctively, Bruce reached to wipe it. Fingers barely trembling during the motion, much to his surprise. He wasn’t an instinctual person in the slightest. He had caught himself off guard, not to mention Clint... Clint. The same fingers froze in midair, catching themselves before he could reach. “I’m sorry. You have some... you know all over you.” His shyness overcame him, his body beginning to draw back in his embarrassment.
The other man wrapped a hand gently around the doctor’s wrist, setting the drink down beside him before cupping Bruce’s chin and tilting it up so their eyes met for the first time since he entered the room. “I don’t... mind.” Sniffle. Clint mentally cursed being sick, all chance of being serious beginning to diminish. “I don’t mind you wiping it off that is..”
Bruce’s eyes opened a little wider, not expecting such a reaction from the archer. He exhaled and inhaled, taking those breaths as time to collect his thoughts and consider his actions. What was he supposed to do? Just..
Just do it?
Tony had once told him to stop tip-toeing, to strut, which coincidentally seemed to apply in any situation that involved his train of thought. Was it really such a good idea to be tempering with Tony’s advice now? But maybe there was never a good time to start, Bruce told himself. He should just do it, maybe if he just leaned-
It was then that it hit him that Clint Barton was kissing him. It was warmer, and more gentle than he could have ever imagined. Sweet. And he could feel himself wanting just a bit more.
But Clint pulled away, and the feeling was gone. All the warmth and sunshine of their kiss had evaporated into thin air. So quickly. Bruce found himself frowning, faint but there.
“I enjoyed it very much,” Clint admitted, “but I don’t want to get you sick.”
The scientist blushed at his words, body slightly trembling from the rush of it all. “I, well, I enjoyed it just as much, Clint.. I have to admit coming up here I wasn’t expecting you to, you know... kiss me.”
Another horrific laugh erupted from Clint. “What were you expecting, then?”
“...A smile, really.”
He couldn’t hold back the grin fighting to shine on his face. The corners of his mouth were stretched as far as they could humanly go, teeth bared in a feeling of euphoria. “Well you got one out of me, Bruce.”
Bruce returned the look, eyes shining, maybe not due to the fire this time, and found the edge of the chair with a satisfied expression. “Then my mission is complete.”
“I really hope we’ll get to do that again.”
“The hot chocolate or the..?”
“The kissing, definitely the kissing,” Clint threw in, gently tugging at his shirt as an offering to wrap his blanket around Bruce’s shoulders.
Taking a moment to think about the entirety of the situation, Bruce finally nodded, leaning back into the man’s arms and into the shelter of the fabric. He hummed happily, eyes fluttering to take small snapshots of Clint in his mind. “..Me too.”
They watched the snow fall across the border of land and sky, and atop roofs of skyscrapers in the distance. There was a wonderful silence that stayed in the air. Or a half-silence both of them were quite fond of. Between the moments the arguing and the cackling of the flames, Clint wrapped an arm around Bruce. He wasn’t certain of what had happened in those few minutes, but he didn’t question it. In his own mind, he already picked out his favorite sound, echoing against the glass walls of the room. His sniffling. That was whole reason Bruce had come up in the first place, and he wouldn’t have wished it any differently.