Darcy has been receiving texts from Clint all afternoon, along the lines of: If Sue from Medical pats me on the ass and calls me ‘hon’ one more time, I may have to file for sexual harassment and Coulson could write his own thesaurus on different ways to say ‘reckless endangerment’ and Considering I’m an Avenger, shouldn’t I be able to hire someone to write up my mission reports for me? And so on. Darcy thinks he was joking about the threats from Natasha. Or… probably not, but hopefully Natasha was joking. She makes a lot of threats.
Clearly it’s been one of those days. So when Clint shows up in Darcy’s apartment and sprawls onto the couch, Darcy is ready for him. She fits herself into the small space he’s left between himself and the arm of the couch, hands him a cold beer with the top popped off, and says, “There’s more where that came from, buddy, just say the word.”
Clint drains about half the beer in one long swallow and then leans his head back, eyes closed, and says in a tone of absolute reverence, “I love you.”
It takes about five seconds for that to sink in and then Darcy is saying, “Okay, hold up, what? Because I’m pretty sure I handed you a beer and then you said you loved me.”
A flush has spread out over Clint’s face. Darcy finds it completely adorable that Clint - Clint Barton the Avenger, Hawkeye - is a blusher. But, okay, focus. No amount of adorableness is going to get Clint out of this one.
She fixes him with a stern gaze. “I’m still waiting.”
“Oh, fuck, Darcy,” he says, the rest of his beer disappearing rapidly. “You know I have this problem where I never know when to shut up.”
“That’s totally not an answer.”
“Haven’t you ever said something without thinking that you wish you hadn’t?”
“So you didn’t mean it?” Darcy isn’t exactly sure why that thought makes her heart feel like it’s sinking in her chest. It’s not like she’s ready to say those three words yet, so why should she be bothered if Clint isn’t, either? “Want to pretend this never happened?”
“No!” Clint’s face now resembles a tomato. “I mean, I… Fuck,” he mutters under his breath.
Darcy curls herself into Clint’s side and idly traces her hand over his thigh, where she knows that beneath his pants, there is a bandage covering ten stitches. “Does it hurt?” she asks.
He’s quiet for a while, probably processing the sudden subject change, and then he says, “Nah. I barely know it’s there.”
“They gave you the good drugs then.”
He laughs. “Yeah, I guess so. They love me in Medical.”
“Probably because you’re their most frequent visitor.” Darcy wants to turn it into a joke, but somehow she just can’t.
Clint seems to sense her reservation and squeezes his arm around her shoulders, tugging her in even closer. “Um, hey, so… What I said. Would it completely freak you out if I said that even if it was an accident, it was true?”
Darcy thinks that probably this would be a good time for eye contact but she remains where she is, staring down at Clint’s leg. The dark fabric of his pants is wearing thin over his knee, just starting to split. “I guess not,” she says finally, quietly.
She can feel the rise and fall of Clint’s chest as he exhales. “Great because it would really suck if I scared you off because I can’t keep my big mouth shut.”
The words Clint doesn’t say hang heavy in the air. Darcy knows it must be killing him to not know what she’s thinking and feeling, to have said those words and not hear them back.
But Darcy can’t say them. She simply can’t. She doesn’t know what she feels. She knows that Clint is the best thing about her life at the moment; hell, he is the best thing that has happened to her in a very long time. Clint makes her laugh and in this super sappy way that she will never admit to anyone ever, he makes her feel like she’s something special.
When most of the people you know are superheroes and/or brilliant scientists, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
It’s stupid to have a fabulous boyfriend who cares about you - who loves you - and worry about getting hurt. Darcy knows this. She knows that Clint would never hurt her on purpose but it’s the not-on-purpose hurting that she is worried about. Somehow it seems like if she keeps it all close, if she doesn’t let on that she might - might - have some pretty strong feelings for him, it will work out better.
And, you know, it probably sounds cool to have a boyfriend who is an actual superhero, but in reality it’s sort of scary.
“I’m…” Clint starts, hesitating. “I know you said you weren’t, but I’m getting a bit of a freaked-out vibe from you.”
So Darcy moves, throws one leg across Clint’s hips and settles herself over him. She kneels above him with her arms looped around his neck and thinks, Say something, damn it. But she can’t make herself. She looks at Clint’s wide-open expression, the hopefulness mixed with the anxiety, and all she can do is lean down and touch her mouth to his.
Clint stays motionless for a moment before he opens his mouth, letting her tongue brush against his. Darcy trails her mouth across Clint’s lips, over to his jaw, presses wet kisses into his skin, and feels like the biggest asshole ever. Clint might talk a lot but generally he doesn’t say all that much - he’s like Darcy, he snarks and he flirts and he bickers good-naturedly but he keeps his feelings pretty close to his chest.
And yet Darcy is distracting him with sex. She tells herself that Clint surely doesn’t mind. He probably doesn’t want to have a big emotional discussion anyway and it’s not like he ever turns down sex. He tends to be more than happy to allow himself to be distracted by Darcy’s chest. Just as an example.
She tells herself it’s okay because she’s only buying herself some time. She needs some time to think, to sort out what she feels, because it’s no good having a conversation about emotions when you’re making it up along the way, right?
But as Clint’s hands squeeze her ass and she nips at his neck, she still wishes things were different.