Clint Barton had been through a lot of shit in his life but this? Was hell. Living hell. He didn’t know what he did in a past life to deserve that but it must have been awful.
His day had actually started pretty well. He had woken up not in his bed at the mansion but in Phil’s one, which, in his book, was always a win. The morning sex had also been very nice, even more so because Phil, Mister I-am-reliable-and-punctual-and-so-very-serious-I-never-stay-in-bed-after-5-am-no-matter what, had initiated it.
Taking a hot shower in a bathroom designed and financed by Tony Stark, billionaire extraordinaire with expansive tastes and a pathological need to show off to his guests, was always a nice way to get ready for the day too.
It was after that shower that everything went to hell in a matter of seconds. Entering the kitchen and seeing all the Avengers and their handler having breakfast and talking were part of his routine at that point. Seeing them all – all of them, deadly Russian assassin and most serious S.H.I.E.L.D. agent included – in various states of hilarity was not.
Stark was standing at the kitchen island, drinking coffee and leaning over what appeared to be a magazine, all the while sniggering but continuing to read. At the table, Steve had his head thrown back and seemed to have trouble breathing correctly after laughing so hard, which for a super-soldier was a bit worrying. Bruce was sitting beside him, apparently impassive but Clint could see his eyes shining with mirth. Thor was beaming with what seemed to be a mix of pride and amusement. Natasha was eating a croissant, gracefully perched on top of the counter, her face a bit redder than usual, her lips twitching, which for her equaled to a normal non-psycho person’s worst case of the giggles. Phil was sitting with his back turned to Clint, already working on paperwork. He wasn’t laughing but Clint could see that his shoulders were tense as if he was trying not to.
He was wondering what was happening and why they didn’t wait for him to be present to start cracking jokes when he heard Stark say what marked the start of ‘The Day All Hell Broke Loose on Clint Barton’s Ass’.
“’…and ladies, I know you are not going to argue with me when I say that a man who is famous for being the best marksman of all times would certainly be a gift from God in a bed. Unlike so many of my exes – and it seems most of yours too, if I read your mails correctly – Clint Barton would not miss his target when searching for a lady’s ‘lucky spot’ if you get what I mean, and I know you do.’ I love that girl!” Stark proclaimed, snorting.
“What the hell are you talking about, Stark?”
“Oh, hi Clint. How are you this fine morning? May I tell you how… ‘unbearably sexy and hot’ you look today? I can’t put my finger on it but something in you is calling to me, I feel funny… Sorry Babe but I think even Captain America is not enough to compete with Captain Sexy Pants,” Stark said, a hand on his chest, faking being mesmerized by Clint.
“Don’t worry Tony, I feel the same way. It’s probably his ‘shiny hair, so luscious you want to run your fingers through it’,” Steve added, barely repressing his wide smile.
“I’d bet on his eyes ‘as blue as the sky, so serious when locked on their target and which make every girl shiver with delight and anticipation when on her’. I know I can barely resist jumping him right now,” Natasha deadpanned.
“What the fuck?” Clint crossed the kitchen quickly, snatching the magazine from under Stark’s nose. His eyes widened when he read the title of the article (‘Clint Barton or, Why Hawkeye Should Be Renamed Captain Sexy Pants’) and the sentence under it (‘All the reasons why the leather-clad Avenger has been voted Sexiest Man Alive by the readers of Sassy Girl’s Mag’).
Scanning the article, he couldn’t help blushing a bit and swearing. Apparently, the trashiest woman’s magazine in the U.S. had been publishing articles on the 100 ‘sexiest men in the world’ and as Number 1, Clint had scored a double-page article, complete with quotes and various pictures of him in his Avenger costume and in everyday clothes. Sassy Girl’s Mag might be the trashiest magazine but it was also one of the best-sellers in every big city in the country, which did not reassure Clint in the least.
Looking up from the magazine, he tried to breathe deeply and prayed for it all to be a prank. Maybe it was? Stark was totally capable of doing that.
Relieved, Clint grinned and said “Well played Stark, I almost bought it!”
“It’s not a joke, Clint. You were voted the Sexiest Man Alive for real, congratulations!”
“Aye, congratulations to you Man With Hawk Like Eyes, it is a great honor to be viewed as such an admirable man by so many Midgardian women!” Thor boomed, clapping him on the back with so much strength that Clint felt his knees buckle.
He was going to reply and said he didn’t believe them when Jarvis cut him off.
“Sir, oncoming call from Director Fury for the Avengers. Should I accept the call?”
“Yes, thanks Jarvis.”
“Avengers, assemble. You are needed in Central Park where what was described as ‘giant purple rabbits’ are attacking civilians. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are already on location but they can’t do anything against the creatures. I’m hoping the Avengers and the Sexiest Man on Earth might be more successful in defeating them.”
I am so fucking screwed; I will never hear the end of it, Clint thought, knowing perfectly that Director Fury never joked.
When the alien rabbits were done with, the Avengers making their way back to the quinjet where Phil was waiting for them, they saw journalists running towards them. They were used to questions such as “Avengers, was it hard to fight those creatures?”, “Are you hurt?”, “Where did those things come from?”, and they usually let Steve and Stark answer because they were the two public faces of the group. The question Clint wasn’t expecting came from a pretty blond: “Hawkeye, what was your initial reaction to knowing you had been voted the Sexiest Man Alive?”
Clint Barton was not a coward; he never run away from danger. This time though? He did.
At first, Clint had thought it was all going to pass quickly and everybody was going to forget about it but Stark had found it hilarious to buy tons of copies of the magazine and to scan the damn articles. The magazines were scattered in every room in the mansion and all over S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, where female agents were giggling when passing him in the corridors and men were trying really hard not to make fun of him because they knew how good his aim was.
It wasn’t passing. People were not forgetting. Clint was going crazy and he saw only two possible outcomes: either he totally lost it and started killing people (starting with Stark – always start with Stark) or running away to hide in a foreign country where people never heard of the goddamned article.
Several days after the giant purple rabbit incident – and it was a proof that his life was really something else when thinking about giant purple rabbits bothered him a lot less than thinking about, well, the other incident – they were all in the rec room for their weekly movie night. It was all very nice until Steve had to go and ask “could the ‘mysterious and brooding archer with muscled arms every woman wants wrapped around her’ please pass the popcorn?”
Everybody laughed, again – because apparently that thing was the funniest shit ever – and just like that Clint’s movie night was ruined.
It kept happening. When he wasn’t expecting it, one of them would start quoting the article.
Once, they were all in medical after a rough assignment and it had been a horrible day and Bruce – shy and nice Bruce who had never mocked him before – said “Clint, I think I have a shard of glass stuck in my back.”
“Okayyy. Hum, don’t you want to wait for a doc to take it out?”
“Well, I thought that you could probably help with those ‘long and deft fingers’ of yours ‘that had more than one woman fantasizing about’.”
This earned him snorts from the others and the medical staff present, and a high five from Stark.
“Go to hell people. All of you. I fucking hate you and I hate this place and I fucking quit!” Clint shouted, storming out with as much dignity as he could muster with a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder. He still had time to hear Natasha say “Well done Bruce. Now what am I going to do without my daily dose of Clint ‘irresistible charm and sex-appeal’? As a woman, I am extra sensitive to everything Clint Barton-related and it might act like a drug on me.”
Needless to say that receiving an email from Loki reading “is it all a joke? You, the Sexiest Man Alive? Are those women out of their mind? You are inferior to me! In everything! I am a God. Why wasn’t I the one voted as such?? Misgardian people are such a waste of space!” did absolutely nothing to improve his mood.
The worst thing was the pretended ‘quotes’ though. That so-called journalist wrote that during a phone interview, Clint had accepted to play the game and answered her questions.
Apparently, when asked why such a ‘good-looking man’ was still single, he had said: “it might be an out-of-date concept but I still believe in true love and I am waiting for the right woman to come along. I don’t want to rush thing and throw myself into a relationship with a person I don’t love with all my heart, a person I wouldn’t be ready to take an arrow for”.
Phil had actually been very amused with that part and a night when they were in bed and Clint was almost asleep, the man had said “you’re lucky the sex is as mind-blowing as advertised, otherwise I wouldn’t settle for being the man on the side while you’re looking for Mrs. Right”.
And Clint had understood that when even your lover was making fun of you, nothing was safe anymore and something had to be done. That was the main reason why Clint was currently on a rooftop, furiously thinking and plotting against Stark. He just had heard through Jarvis that Stark was actually the one who had answered the phone when that evil woman had called and who had fed her all those false answers.
Needless to say, Anthony Stark was going to pay.